Gu Zheng performance at Five Footway Festival Chinatown

“Dragon Boat Festival? I… don’t think I’ve celebrated that before…”

While Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duan Wu Jie, is not a very commonly celebrated festival in Singapore, especially amongst the younger generation, that doesn’t that there isn’t anything to do this month.

To prove that, Chinatown Singapore has organised a myriad of fun activities and promotions for this year’s Dragon Boat Festival from 7 to 9 June 2024.

What to expect at this year’s Dragon Boat Festival?

With all the activities and promotions scattered across Chinatown, Singapore, here are five things to look forward to this month.

1. Hainanese Bak Zhang workshop

Hainanese Bak Zhang workshop for Dragon Boat Festival Chinatown Singapore
Photo: Chinatown Business Association

Did you know that each variation of bak zhang, also known as rice dumpling, has its own correlation to Dragon Boat Festival?

Bak Zhang can come in various ingredients like mushrooms, chestnuts, marinated meat, salted egg yolk, and more. Through this workshop, you’ll get to to learn about the various dumplings and its stories in relation to Dragon Boat Festival.

Here, you’ll learn that Bak Zhang is more than a dish, but a story of the past. Do note that there will be no hands-on activities involved, as this is more of a cultural sharing session.

Tickets are available on Peatix at $12.

Date: 8 June 2024, 11am-2pm

Location: Chinatown Visitor Centre @CVC, 2 Banda Street Singapore

2. Rice wine appreciation

Rice Wine Appreciation session - a Sip of Heritage
Photo: Chinatown Business Association

Explore the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) benefits of rice wine at this upcoming Dragon Boat Festival workshop.

You’ll learn all about the history, culture, and the art of fermentation that transforms rice into a culinary staple. In addition, how rice wine acts as a healthful elixir, as it is rich in probiotics and antioxidants. Along the way, you will also sample various rice wines and learn how to make a classic rice wine dessert.

Tickets are available on Peatix at $42. While this workshop is relatively pricier, you will also get to leave with a bottle of heritage rice wine.

Date: 8 June, 2-3pm & 4-5pm

Location: Chinatown Visitor Centre @CV, 2 Banda Street Singapore

3. Stand a chance to win a staycation

Serviced apartment at Dao by Dorsett AMTD Singapore
Serviced apartment at Dao by Dorsett AMTD Singapore

Want to win a free staycation?

All you have to do is purchase a Wish Dumpling sachet for $5 and hang your wish on the wishing wall. Once purchase, you’ll stand a chance to win a 3D2N staycation to either Amara Singapore or Dorsett Singapore.

What makes this activity even more meaningful is that all proceeds will be donated to Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN).

4. Win a 30 F&B voucher

It isn’t a Dragon Boat Festival without a Dragon Boat Race.

Take part in Chinatown’s dry version of the Dragon Boat Race, and stand a chance to win $30 worth of Food and Beverage vouchers.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a fun and free way to spend the weekend, you can also simply take part in nostalgic games like Five Stones, Hopscotch and Pitch-pot.

All the activities are located along Smith Street, Chinatown.

Read on: 13 best Chinatown cafes you’ve never heard of

5. Cultural performances

cantonese opera at chinatown for the upcoming dragon boat festival
Cantonese Opera performance at Five Footway Festival, a cultural event in Chinatown in March 2024.
Photo: Chinatown Business Association

Lastly, you can also look forward to cultural performances like Dragon Dance, Lion Dance, Guzheng and Cantonese Opera.

Unfortunately, there has not been any updates on the specific dates and timings of each performance at the moment.

Why celebrate Dragon Boat Festival?

Having interesting things to do in June is obviously cool, but what’s the significance over this festival?

To start off, Dragon Boat Festival takes place on a “different” date each year. It follows the lunar calendar, falling on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month each year, so anywhere in late May or early June.

Apparently, there are multiple stories to its origin, but the most famous story for Dragon Boat Festival goes like this.

This festival was made to honour Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet and state servant who sacrificed himself for his country. Somehow, he was exiled by the then Emperor Huai due to allegations against him. Despite so, when the next emperor surrendered Later, when the next emperor surrendered the country to their rivals, Qu drowned himself in the Miluo River due to despair.

Upon hearing of Qu’s death, villagers traversed the river to recover his body, but to no avail. To stop the fish from eating his body, they threw rice dumplings into the river. This has since evolved into the Chinese traditions of eating zongzi and rowing dragon boats during this period.

Dragon Boat Festival at Chinatown

Date: 7-9 June 2024

Location: Smith Street, Chinatown

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