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Writing Exercise 2 – The Introduction

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Writing Exercise 2 – The Introduction

Read the following essay written by a student. Then answer the questions at the end of the essay.

The Dragon Boat Festival

          The Dragon Boat Festival is a significant festival in Chinese traditional celebrations. The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of lunar May. This holiday is to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a well-loved poet of the fourth century B.C. Qu Yuan drowned himself to protest his king’s despotic rule. The villagers respected him so much that they rowed their boats down the river and dropped tzung-tzu, “rice dumplings,” into the river to feed Qu Yuan’s spirit. To celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, families do several things, like make tzung-tzu, hang the moxa herb, and watch the dragon boat race.

          Before the Dragon Boat Festival, every family prepares tzung-tzu. This is a kind of rice dumpling filled with various things, such as bean curd, meat, mushrooms, and shrimp, and it is then wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed. The mother and the children all work together in preparing the tzung-tzu.

          Then each family also has to buy moxa herb and hang it in a special location. The reason for this is that the moxa herb can get rid of the bad luck in the family atmosphere. Some people even use these herbs to wash sick babies, for they believe that this special festival can bring some “transformation” in people’s lives. Usually the father and the boys find a location to hang the moxa herb.

          After preparing the tzung-tzu, each family goes to the river to watch the dragon boat race, which takes place during this festival. The dragon boat race symbolizes the story of Qu Yuan. It is a rowing boat team competition with about 30 people on each team. All the spectators cheer and shout enthusiastically. After the exciting race, both the competitors and the spectators usually eat many tzung-tzu.

          The Dragon Boat Festival symbolizes the unique meanings of Chinese history; furthermore, the process of making the rice dumplings, the hanging of the moxa herb, and the boat race are a way of drawing all members of the family together again. Perhaps one day we will have a very different celebration, but so far I still like this holiday being celebrated in a traditional way.