China Pictorials 中国

Pictures from China

Thursday, May 28, 2009

China celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival) 端午节

The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival) is a traditional and statutory holiday associated with Chinese cultures, though other east Asian societies observe it as well. It is a public holiday in China and Taiwan, and a public holiday in Hong Kong and Macau, where it is called the "Tuen Ng Jit". In English it is often referred to as the "Dragon Boat Festival", an allusion to one of the traditional activities associated with the holiday.

The festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, giving rise to the alternative name of Double Fifth. In 2009 this falls on May 28 and in 2010 on June 16. The focus of the celebrations includes eating zongzi, which are large rice wraps, drinking realgar wine, and racing dragon boats.

Equivalent and related festivals include the Kodomo no hi in Japan, Dano in Korea, and Tết Đoan Ngọ in Vietnam.

The Duanwu Festival is believed to have originated in ancient China. A number of theories exist about its origins as a number of folk traditions and explanatory myths are connected to its observance. Today the best known of these relates to the suicide in 278 BC of Qu Yuan, poet and statesman of the Chu kingdom during the Warring States period.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yarlung Zangbo River 雅鲁藏布江 Brahmaputra River

The Yarlung Zangbo River 雅鲁藏布江, Tibetan: ཡར་ཀླུངས་གཙང་པོ་

The Yarlung Zangbo river originates upstream from the South Tibet Valley and Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, in Tibet.It then passes through India, where it is known as the Dihang. Downstream the river becomes wider and at this point is called the Brahmaputra River. It eventually disgorges into the Bay of Bengal. Since the river crosses international boundaries, it has at least three different names in different languages.

The Yarlung Zangbo River is the highest major river in the world. Its longest tributary is the Nyang River. In Tibet the river flows through the South Tibet Valley, which is approximately 1200 kilometres long and 300 kilometres wide. The valley descends from 4500 metres above sea level to 3000 metres. As it descends, the surrounding vegetation changes from cold desert to arid steppe to deciduous scrub vegetation. It ultimately transitions into a conifer and rhododendron forest. The tree line is approximately 3,200 metres. Sedimentary sandstone rocks found near the Tibetan capital of Lhasa contain grains of magnetic minerals that record the Earth's alternating magnetic field current.

The Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, formed by a horse-shoe bend in the river where it flows around Namcha Barwa, is the deepest, and possibly longest canyon in the world. The river has been a challenge to whitewater kayakers because of the extreme conditions of the river.

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