Peh Cun Festival: Timeless Charm Tradition in the Modern Age

Peh Cun Festival: Timeless Charm Tradition in the Modern Age

Did you know that today marks a special occasion, the Peh Cun Festival. A festival filled with joy and Chinese tradition that has survived for more than 2,300 years if you count from the time of the Zhou Dynasty.

Peh Cun, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, has become an integral part of ethnic Chinese culture in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Peh Cun marks an important moment in the lunar calendar and is celebrated annually on the fifth day of the fifth month. The festival exudes an ancient charm and life rich in symbolism and meaning. In the midst of the festivities, there are diverse and interesting traditions ranging from food, games, and offering prayers to revered ancestors.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)

Dragon boats, a symbol of strength and good fortune, are an integral part of the Peh Cun Festival. The exciting dragon boat races showcase the skill and coordination of the teams, accompanied by the thunderous cheers of the crowd. In addition, traditional foods such as zongzi and bakcang become an inseparable icon. The various games and foods of this festival are also full of deep meaning.

History of the Peh Cun Festival

In the past, there was a minister of Chu who was dedicated and loyal to his country. He fought to advance the state of Chu by planning an alliance with the state of Qi to fight the state of Qin.

However, his ideas aroused the jealousy of the royal family, who disliked him. The minister was eventually expelled from Chu State, leaving him full of sadness, disappointment, and worry about his future. In despair, he decided to end his life by jumping into the Miluo River.

According to legend, when he jumped into the river on the fifth day of the fifth month, the local people felt sad and searched for his body around the river. To honor the minister's service and kindness, they threw rice and food into the river, hoping that the fish and shrimp would not disturb his remains.

Later, to protect the food from the dragon in the river, they wrapped it in leaves, now known as bakcang. The fishermen's search for the minister's body by boat became the origin of the dragon boat racing tradition known today.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)

Peh Cun Celebrations in Southeast Asia

In addition to the activities already mentioned, some of these Southeast Asian countries have other celebrations. During the Peh Cun celebrations in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, one of the traditional activities is bathing in the Kapuas River. This tradition is usually done during the day by people of all ages, from children to adults. The tradition of bathing in the Kapuas River is believed to purify the body and drive away evil spirits, and has been practiced for decades by the ethnic Chinese community in Pontianak.

Singapore also has its own tradition of celebrating the Peh Cun festival. The Peh Cun festival is also marked by the wearing of five-colored silk, which is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. The five colors represent the five elements of nature: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Singapore's Peh Cun festival features arts and crafts workshops where families can learn to make traditional crafts such as lanterns, paper cutouts and embroidery.

In Vietnam, there is a celebration similar to Peh Cun called Tet doan ngo. It is believed that evil spirits and insects are at their strongest on this day, so people take measures to protect themselves and their crops from pests and diseases. One of the traditional customs of this festival is to eat food made of rice and fruits, such as sticky rice cakes and fruits preserved in syrup. Another custom is bathing in herbs and fruits believed to have medicinal properties, such as mugwort and grapefruit leaves.

There are many other traditions in Southeast Asia to celebrate this festival. However, it is the perfect time to honor the cultural heritage of our ancestors, foster a sense of community, and celebrate the diversity and beauty of Chinese culture.

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