Cal Lutheran to hold Dragon Boat Festival
In-Harmony Chorus
In-Harmony Chorus
First-time event to feature performances, artifacts

California Lutheran will present a free Dragon Boat Festival for the first time at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, in Samuelson Chapel.

The Chinese cultural event will feature performances by In-Harmony Chorus and Cal Lutheran students. A group of singing enthusiasts in Thousand Oaks and surrounding cities established the chorus in 2010. Led by director and conductor Jay Yang, the group sings a wide variety of songs including Chinese classics and folk songs. The event will also feature a display of Chinese artifacts, and guests will receive souvenirs relating to the holiday.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, has been held annually in China for more than 2,000 years. It commemorates the patriotic poet Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan was the top adviser to the King of Chu, but the king dismissed and exiled him when jealous officials slandered him and accused him of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote many enduring poems showing his love and passion for his country. He drowned himself in a river in 278 BC when he found out that his country was conquered by the state of Qin.

On hearing of Qu Yuan's death, local people were in great distress. Fishermen searched for his body by sailing their boats down the river, and people threw food, including zongzi and other rice dumplings, into the river to attract fish and stop them from destroying Qu Yuan's body.

Because Qu Yuan died on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, people decided to commemorate him on that day every year. Among the customs practiced on this day are dragon boat racing, eating zongzi and wearing a perfume pouch. Qu Yuan's patriotic spirit has become a symbol of the noble and persevering spirit of the Chinese people.

Samuelson Chapel is located at 165 Chapel Lane on the Thousand Oaks campus.

Cal Lutheran’s Department of Languages and Cultures is sponsoring the festival. It is open to community members ages 5 and older. For more information, contact Debby Chang at