Campus News Culture

The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival at Kenyatta University

Written by Eugene Makokha
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Kenyatta University was a host of activities on 19th June 2018 to celebrate the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival which is held yearly across the world in commemorating fealty and filial piety. The event, in remembrance of the Chinese legendary Poet, Qu Yuan (屈原) was held on the Confucius Institute lawn and had many guests invited by the Institute. The Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calender.

Qu Yuan was a Chinese Poet and Minister of the ancient state of Chu. As a member of the Chu royal house, he was highly ranked. He was loyal to his state and hated corruption hence his fellow officials disliked him. He was against the allying with the powerful state of Qin but was accused of treason and banished. Years later when Qin invaded Chu, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River. The locals who knew him raced out in their boats to save him. They dropped balls of sticky rice (Zongzi)into the river so that the fish could eat them instead of Qu Yuan’s body.

The Confucius Institute at Kenyatta University was joined by Rusinga Schools, Strathmore University and Fairview Academy from Ruiru in celebrating the event. Several activities colored the event including rafle tickets for the audience that won a few of them very good prizes. Zongzi was available for the audience to enjoy. Students from the Kenyatta University CI performed the lion dance to begin the event. People listened to beautiful Chinese songs and interacted to a great extent. The martial arts team impressed too by their Tai Chi performances. Chinese teachers of the Kenyatta University CI prepared 5-colored silk threaded braids which are often put on children’s wrists during the occassion as this is believed to keep bad spirits and diseases away. Kids from Fairview academy loved them for sure.

The whole experience was worth remembering and offered insight into Chinese culture. I look forward to next year’s Dragon Boat Festival.


About the author


Eugene Makokha

Student at Kenyatta University main campus, Kenya.

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