So, as I’ve mentioned many times, my best college bud, Christian, came to Asia to visit me!! Her first stop was Taipei where I showed her bits of Taipei life for four days, then we were off to Hanoi + Bangkok.
During our brief time in Taipei, we went to a fabulous natural hot spring in the mountains, Yaboo Cafe (of course), my other fave eats spots (including Drunken Monkey + the ridiculously incredible sushi spot down the street from my house!), Taipei Fine Arts Museum + MoCA, Shilin + Shida Night Markets, Da-An Park, the NTU Campus, Ladies Night at Luxy (yup), but we also went to the Dragon Boat Festival!
The Dragon Boat Festival is a Chinese tradition with many origin myths that has been celebrated for thousands of years on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Lunar Calendar. This year that day was June 12.
According to good-ole wiki, held near the summer solstice, the festival celebrates the masculine energies of the sun + dragon. (The winter solstice, moon + phoenix, on the flip side, are said to represent feminine energies.) Dragon Boat celebrations these days include racing dragon boats, drinking special wine + eating special glutinous rice dumplings that are cooked wrapped in bamboo reed. It is national holiday in Taiwan, Hong Kong + China.
The main day of racing in Taipei was held at Dajia Riverside Park, where hundreds of spectators gathered to watch, eat + have fun with their families + friends. I went to check out the festivities with Christian + my new roommates, Dan + Shawn!
At first it felt like a wild goose chase as we walked through the beautiful riverside park trying to find the festivities, but soon we saw rows of tents full of spectators + food stuffs.
None of us knew anyone competing, but quickly found ourselves in the shade of the tents, sitting with contingents of supporters for the different teams. (I’m still scratching my head as to why my language program doesn’t have a team since other Chinese language programs did!!) We stayed for a couple of hours watching qualifying races + snacking.
Unfortunately we were unable to find prepared rice dumplings + said wine, but I did have a delicious passion fruit juice + plum flavored french fries! We also caught this chance encounter between dog + cat brought along to the event by their owners…