A special 7th grade English Class at LiMing Catholic School in Madou, Taiwan commemorated the Dragon Boat Festival holiday in a different way this year. They produced a video explaining the origins of this ancient Chinese festival to the English-speaking world. The video is narrated and scenes are acted out by the students, depicting the story of Qu Yuan, which took place 2,300 years ago.
The Dragon Boat Festival, or Duan Wu Jie, is celebrated this year on June 16th. It is always celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar Calendar. The holiday originated in the ancient state of Chu, during the Warring States period. Qu Yuan was a court official to the King. He was beloved by the king and his people. However, his integrity and honesty made the other court officials jealous. They conspired together and convinced the king to banish Qu Yuan from the Chu Kingdom. During his 28 years in exile, Qu Yuan wrote many poems, for which he is still revered. When his kingdom was conquered by the Qin Kingdom, he drowned himself in the Milou River on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar Calendar. The local people loved him dearly and when they could not find him, they threw rice into the river to feed the fish, so they would not eat Qu Yuan’s body. Today, the Dragon Boat festival is celebrated around the world with dragon boat races, and by eating rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo.
The 7th grade English class at LiMing Catholic School is quite unusual, on that they have taken on projects that reach out to the world. Not only do they learn English, but they get a chance to see at a young age the opportunities that English language provides them to connect with the world. In May, they had an art contest to draw posters of friendship to mail to students in Haiti. Besides producing a video on the Dragon Boat Festival, the students also produced a video explaining the traditions of Lunar New Year.
As their English teacher, I couldn’t be more proud of them. They have always been enthusiastic with their projects.