Record number of passengers in Dragon Boat Festival rush
June 09 2016 10:46 PM
Teams compete during the Dragon Boat Festival in Luoyang, in China’s Henan province.


An estimated 10.7mn Chinese passengers took the train to return home or go on holiday yesterday on the first day of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival.
China’s railway operators had added 411 extra trains to cope with the record number of passengers, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
On Wednesday, 9.724mn trips were made across China, up 6.5% from last year.
Annual college entrance exams, called “gaokao,” ended on Wednesday, freeing up high school students for travel.
The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Duanwu Festival, is a statutory holiday celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
According to ancient lore, the festival is held to commemorate the death of poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BCE), who committed suicide by drowning in a river during the tumult of China’s Warring States period.
The story says local people raced out in their boats to try to save him, dropping balls of sticky rice so fish would not eat Qu’s body.
Today, Chinese people celebrate the holiday by racing long “dragon boats,” eating sticky rice dumplings and drinking wine.

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