Qu Yuan Memorial Temple

Qu Yuan's memorial temple on the hillside east of the Zigui County has a distinctive white gateway and walls edged in red. The original Qu Yuan Memorial Hall was built in AD 820 in the Tang Dynasty and was rebuilt several times in the course of the country's history. The present memorial hall was built in 1982, and is four times larger than the previous ones. It has a distinctive white gateway and walls edged in red, as well as a statue of the poet from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with many stone inscriptions.

Qu Yuan Memorial Temple Qu Yuan Memorial Temple

Qu Yuan served as a chancellor to King Huai in the Kingdom of Chu and the king had complete trust in him. Later, court discord developed among the clans and Qu was falsely slandered. He was banished from the capital with deep sadness and bitterness. He wandered Hubei Province and wrote many poems and essays that revealed his rbomanticism, loyalty and patriotism. He was so disappointed that he drowned himself in Dongting Lake in May at the age of 62.

The sorrowful villagers scoured Dongting Lake for his body, beating drums, racing their boats, scaring away fish and dropping zongzi (packets of sweetened rice steamed in leaves and tied with reeds into the water). They hoped the fish would feast on zongzi rather than on Qu Yuan's body. Afterwards, the event became the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie) that is held each May. On theday, people will eat Zongzi to commemorate Qu Yuan. Today, the dragon boat racing and zongzi eating have become a tradition for worldwide Chinese people, and people in South East Asia.

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