This year, Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on June 14th. Let's do a quick flash back:
Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional festival over 2000 years old in China. A memorial ceremony commemorates the death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan 屈原 (c.340-278 BC), as well as offers sacrifices to remove the evil spirits before formally entering summer.
The festival occurs on the fifth/五 day of the fifth/五 month on the Chinese lunar calendar, thus it has has name of Double Five Festival (Duanwu Festival, Duānwǔ Jié). In 2009, UNESCO listed it as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Ceremonies are combined with sporting events such as dragon boat racing 赛龙舟 (sài lóngzhōu) and willow shooting;
Traditionally, people used to wear sachet filled with wormwood, realgar and other spices to repel insects. Nowadays, people wear scented sachets as decoration and lucky charm.
The special food for the festival is sticky rice dumpling 粽子 (zòngzi), made of glutinous rice mixed with different fillings, and wrapped in bamboo leaves.
Wordplay is very common in oral culture or literature in mandarin Chinese. For example, homophonic puns are used very often in daily life to reinforce expression or humor.
Here, "粽" Zòng (4th tone), is similar to pronunciation of "总" Zǒng (3rd tone, means "always, everyday"). Hence for Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese greet their family or friends with a humour:
"粽" (="总") 是快乐 ( Zǒng shì kuàilè，always happy)!
"粽" (="总") 是健康 ( Zǒng shì jiànkāng, always healthy)!
Let's learn it today, and tell friends your wishes in Chinese!
Recommended reading: Is there humor in Chinese ?