The Dragon Boat Festival (aka Double Fifth Festival) is a special time of year, during which Taiwan gets a major holiday vacation and there are Dragon Boat Races. During this time, people also must eat Zongzi. We have created this guide for you to see the official dragon boat races all around Taiwan and understand more about this special cultural festival.
Originally Dragon Boat Festival may have started during the Qin Dynasty as a day to remove evil spirits and bad luck that were thought to appear on the fifth day of the fifth month.
The best known origin story for the Dragon Boast Festival is that it commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a famous poet and official of the Chu Dynasty during the Warring States Period. He opposed the Chu Dynasty joining an alliance with the Qin, and therefore was banished. When the Qin Dynasty finally took over the Chu Dynasty, he committed suicide by entering the Miluo River (汨羅江 Mìluójiāng) and drowning himself.
It was said that the local people went looking for him by rowing dragon shaped canoes, and threw sticky rice balls into the water so that the fish would eat the rice and not Qu Yuan's body. Because of this, during Dragon Boat Festival everyone eats stick rice, or Zongzi, and holds dragon boat races to commemorate Qu Yuan's memory.
Another tradition is for people to balance eggs, which is thought to bring good luck during the "unlucky" holiday.
Dragon Boat races usually involve a team rowing together, while someone beats a drum to keep rhythm and someone else stands at the front of the boat to catch the flag.
Dragon Boat Festival is an official holiday in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, China, and is celebrated by Chinese heritage communities throughout Asia and the world.
When is Dragon Boat Festival?
The fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
2020: June 25th
2021: June 14th
2022: June 3rd
2023: June 22nd
2024: June 10th
2025: May 31st
When are Dragon Boat Races in Taiwan?
Training starts about a month before Dragon Boat Festival
The actual races begin a few days before or on Dragon Boat Festival, and can last a few days after as well. Races usually last the whole day.
Where are Dragon Boat Races in Taiwan?
Taipei International Dragon Boat Championships: 國際龍舟錦標賽
Dates: (June 25-June 26 2020)
Location: Dajie Riverside Park 大佳河濱公園 (under Dazhi Bridge going to Neihu near the airport along the Keelung River. There is parking at the riverside park, but it can get very crowded late in the day).
Tainan International Dragon Boat Championships: 台南市國際龍舟賽 (June 23-June 25)
Dates: (June 25-June 26 2020)
Location: Yunhe River in Tainan Between Anyi Bridge and Chengtian Bridge, near Anping Old Street 臺南市運河（安億橋至承天橋河段）
Kaohsiung Love River Dragon Boat Festival: 高雄愛河端午龍舟嘉年華
Dates: (Cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19)
Location: The Love River between Kaohsiung Bridge and Zhongzheng Bridge (愛河， 高雄橋-中正橋).
Changhua Taiwan International Dragon Boat Races 台灣國際競技龍舟錦標賽
Dates:(Cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19)
Location: Lukang, along the FuLu River near Lukang Old Street (彰化福鹿溪水域)
Yunlin Dragon Boat Races 雲林龍舟賽
Dates: (June 25-June 26)
Location: Kouhu Township, Yiwu Wet Pond at the north pond (本縣口湖鄉宜梧滯洪池北池)Price:
Please see below for a map of dragon boat racing locations.
You've heard of Taipei (Tainorth 臺北) Taichung (Taimiddle 臺中) Taitung (Taieast 臺東) and Tainan (Taisouth 臺南), but what about Taixi (Taiwest 臺西)? It exists. It's a small coastal township in Yunlin County, with the main industry there being oyster harvesting. There isn't much to see here besides oyster farms and wetlands, but I still recommend going there at least once for bucket list checking purposes.
Taixi was first colonized by Chinese people in the 1800s, first by the Ting family, which were Muslim Chinese that immigrated from Fujian province. They built a mosque there, but over time the family all converted to Taoism, and the mosque has since been converted into a Taoist Temple. Now, over 70 percent of the people living in Taixi are descendants from the Ting family.
The main industry here is oyster farming, but radish farming and eco-tourism of the local wetlands and Taixi Seaside Park also bring in some income.
A large section of sea off the coast of Taixi also has been planned for land reclamation for industrial use.
Currently there are 24,212 people living in the township, which is divided into 15 villages.
How to get there:
By Car: Take National Highway 1 to Yunlin, then take wither Freeway 61 or 78 west to Taixi.
Scooter: Take Freeway 17 along the west coast of Taiwan until you reach the town, which is on the northern coast of Yunlin.
By Bus: From the Yunlin High Speed Rail Station, you can take the city bus to Taixi, which is about an hour bus ride away.
Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.