Last time I introduced the origin of Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival) and its customs. And today, let me introduce the most significant person in this day ----Qu Yuan, who gave this day a special meaning with his death.
Qu Yuan, whose first name is Mi (芈), given name Ping (平) and secondary personal name Yuan (原), was born in the Warring States Period in a noble family of State Chu. Whe he was young, he was keen on studying and reading. His hardworking makes him knowledgeable and wise. Therefore, he was trusted by the King of Chu State and appointed as the minister of the state. He insisted on revolution and resistance against Qing State. However, as his opinion was different from some nobles and violated their benefits, he was framed by them and was exiled to some barrens by the riverside.
In 278 BC, State Qing invaded State Chu and occupied Ying, the capital city of State Chu. Hearing this bad news, Qu Yuan was so sad and angry thathe held a stone and drowned himself in the Miluo River on 5th May of lunar calendar. As a great man with political opinions favorable to the people and brilliant talent for literature, Qu had a lot of followers who voluntarily mourned for his death.
Everyone is drunk whereas I am sober, everyone is filthy whereas I am pure.
----The attitude of a self-esteemed
When Qu Yuan was banished, he lingered around Yuan River, singing, with a sorrowful look and withered face. A fisherman saw it, and asked him, "aren't you the minister of State Chu? Why are you in this condition now?" Qu Yuan's answer was this : Everyone is drunk whereas I am sober, everyone is filthy whereas I am pure. Tha's why I am banished.
From this talk, a lofty mind has its full manifestion. Qu Yuan, with his high-toned will and noble mind, would never join the filth of the world. He prefered death to the way that he lived while bear the mud of the world. He saw through the world's darkness and filth, when others were intoxicated in this kind of world. Therefore, he chose to die rather than witnessing the sink of the state.
Therefore, on 5th May, those who believed Qu Yuan was great voluntarily did something to mourn for him. And some customs are therefore formed. Qu Yuan's poetries, as a essence of Chinese ancient literature, is an enjoyment to read as a lament for him. If you are interested in ancient Chinese literature, it is a good choice to read Qu Yuan's poetry.
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