15+ Dragon Boat Festival Videos in English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 YouTube Videos in Chinese & English

端午节 / 端午節 (Duānwǔ Jié / Dragon Boat Festival) is a traditional Chinese holiday that commemorates the life and death of the famous scholar 屈原 (Qūyuán).  Similar to Chinese Lunar New Year and Mid Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival brings together family over special recipes. But unique to this holiday are dragon boat races and honoring an ancient Chinese official.

To learn more about Dragon Boat Festival history, food, and activities, my children and I watched 端午节 / 端午節 YouTube videos in English and Mandarin Chinese. For reference, my daughter is 7 years old, and my son is 4. However, most of these videos are appropriate (and not babyish) for older kids, too. I hope your families and schools find these videos helpful!

Since many of you speak Cantonese and have requested kid-friendly resources, I’ve included a few at the end of this post! Cantonese was one of the languages that my late father spoke!

Note: This post was originally published in May 2018 (first Facebook share here) and has since been updated with new information.

Videos about Dragon Boat Festival in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese
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What is the history behind Dragon Boat Festival?

Through these videos, we learned that Dragon Boat Festival has been celebrated for over 2000 years! Traditions are based on the legend of 屈原 (Qūyuán), a poet and loyal official in the Chinese court in the state of Chu.

Although 屈原 (Qūyuán) tried to give advice and warning to his emperor, he was banished into exile for suspected treason. The result was a sad 屈原 (Qūyuán) who jumped into the Miluo River and died. People took long boats to the river to rescue 屈原 (Qūyuán).  According to the legend, 粽子 (zòngzi / sticky rice) was thrown into the river in attempt to prevent the fish from eating 屈原‘s body. Eventually, these events led to the annual dragon boat race and the custom of eating 粽子, sticky rice filled with a variety of foods wrapped in leaves.

As you’ll see in the videos, details about 屈原 (Qūyuán)’s suicide vary depending on the source; some don’t mention this information. Please consider pre-watching each video to see if it’s appropriate for your child.

When is Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 / 端午節?

Each year, the festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar.

In 2021, Dragon Boat Festival falls on Monday, June 14th.

More Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 / 端午節 learning resources

Dragon Boat Festival YouTube Videos

Here are 15 great YouTube videos about Dragon Boat history, boat races, and delicious recipes!

Dragon Boat Festival Videos in English and Chinese

These first 7 videos are in English with some Mandarin Chinese. As someone who is learning Chinese with my kids, I recommend starting here if you’re learning about Chinese culture and not yet fluent in the language.

Overview about Dragon Boat Festival

The History Behind Dragon Boat Festival 端午節

This is a quick and clear overview of the Dragon Boat Festival in English!

Learn Chinese Now – Dragon Boat Festival and Eating Zongzi

This video explains that Dragon Boat Festival is a memorial commemorating 屈原.  Most of the video is in English with a few key words highlighted in English, Pinyin, and traditional Chinese characters.

Dumplings and Dragon Boats

https://youtu.be/pGy0hSqn8wk

While visiting Taiwan, ChinesePod visits a popular market during Dragon Boat Festival.  The energetic video is bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese.

Dragon Boat Festival reenactment

The Story of QuYuan: Shadow Puppet Show

This kid-friendly puppet show explains why we eat rice dumplings and have dragon boat races for Dragon Boat Festival. Please note that this video depicts the death of Qu Yuan including a stone attached to his body. The story is first narrated in English with subtitles. Around the 2:37 minute mark, the story is narrated in Mandarin Chinese with traditional Chinese subtitles. My kids loved watching this last year, and we want to try making the shadow puppets this year (tutorial here)!

Dragon boat racing

Dragon boat racing is a competitive sport in over 50 countries! South China Morning Post shares footage from dragon boat competitions in China, Italy, and Uganda! Also check out this video for a Dragon Boat race in Hong Kong.

Delicious recipes for Dragon Boat Festival

Pork Zongzi

Angel Wong is a Taiwanese American who shares a traditional family pork zonzi recipe! You can download the printable recipe here.

If you like to compare and combine recipes and tips, Extra Petite (Jean Wang)’s family recipe looks amazing, too! Check out her instructions here.

Vegan Zongzi

East Meets Kitchen shares how to make meat-free sticky rice dumplings! All of the recipes on her website are vegan and Asian; written directions for her zongzi recipe can be found here.

Dragon Boat Festival Videos in Mandarin Chinese

For full language immersion, these 8 videos are exclusively in Mandarin Chinese!

Overview about Dragon Boat Festival

Introduction to Dragon Boat Festival – Chinese Class 101

A Chinese teacher explains Dragon Boat Festival in Mandarin Chinese.  Subtitles are in simplified Chinese and English! This is one of our favorite channels for brief overviews of various Chinese holidays.

Taoshu and Friends

This video about Dragon Boat Festival features a mix of animation with real people in Mandarin Chinese. They also show kids making 粽子!  Please note that this video has no subtitles.

If you’re kids like this video, check out the Taoshu and Friends book series in simplified Chinese, Pinyin, English plus audio CDs!

Real-life Chinese conversation about Dragon Boat Festival

This is such a helpful video covers so much natural dialogue and interesting customs about Dragon Boat Festival. You can jump to the different times below to learn various parts about the holiday. Please note that they do mention the word “自杀 / 自殺” (zìshā / suicide). Since the holiday acknowledges the tragedy of Qu Yuan, they teach us to say “端午安康!” (Duānwǔ ānkāng / Have a safe and healthy Dragon Boat Festival) instead of 端午快乐 / 端午快樂 (duānwǔ kuàilè / Happy Dragon Boat Festival)!

  • 0:00 – Scene Play: Money Zongzi Gift
  • 0:55 – Dragon Boat Festival: Date, History, Origins and Qu Yuan’s Story
  • 1:54 – What to eat on Dragon Boat Festival
  • 2:11 – Try salty and sweet zongzi
  • 4:11 – Mung bean cakes
  • 4:31 – Show century eggs and salted duck eggs, and the difference
  • 5:35 – What to drink on Duanwu Festival
  • 5:58 – What to do on Dragon Boat Festival
  • 6:07 – Hang artemisia argyi and calamus, make five-color bracelets
  • 6:38 – Wear embroidered scented sachets
  • 7:00 – Dragon Boat Race & its story
  • 7:29 – What to play: Egg Standing Challenge
  • 8:15 – Try to stand an egg yourself and tell us other traditions
  • 8:48 – What to say on Dragon Boat Festival

Captions are in simplified Chinese, Pinyin, and English.

Dragon Boat Festival reenactment

A Taiwanese mom acts out the history of 屈原 (Qūyuán) with Mega Bloks and paper puppets with her child! Her demonstration begins at the 0:48 mark. Subtitles are in traditional Chinese.

Delicious recipes for Dragon Boat Festival

鲜肉粽子 Pork Zongzi

My kids love watching Amanda Tastes! This cooking video has instructions for how to make 鲜肉粽子 Pork Zongzi in Mandarin Chinese.  Ingredients are listed in simplified Chinese and English, but otherwise, there are no subtitles.

端午节清水白粽子 Plain Zongzi

Amanda Tastes also shares how to make 端午节清水白粽子 Plain Zongzi (Rice Dumpling) in Mandarin Chinese. Ingredients are listed in simplified Chinese and English.

碱水红豆粽 Red Bean Paste Zongzi

小高姐的 Magic Ingredients shares a mouth-watering recipe with red bean paste! This is a popular sweet version of sticky rice dumplings! Instructions are in simplified Chinese and English.

李子柒 Liziqi

李子柒 Liziqi’s videos are so beautiful and calming. Though the dialogue in Chinese is minimal, each video is a wonderful way to learn about nature and Chinese culture. The occasional subtitle is in simplified Chinese and English. Her Dragon Boat Festival video shows how she collects bamboos from the forest, prepares 粽子, and shares the delicious meal. My kids and I really enjoyed this other 粽子video here!

Dragon Boat Festival Videos in Cantonese

Background about Dragon Boat Festival

Delicious recipes for Dragon Boat Festival

Introduction to Dragon Boat Festival – Cantonese Class 101

Similar to Chinese Class 101, the Cantonese version of this channel is a great starting point for learning key vocabulary about Chinese festivals. This video entirely in Cantonese; subtitles are in traditional Chinese, English, and some Jyutping.

The Ultimate Guide to Zongzi / Joong (咸肉粽), Toisanese Style

Made With Lau is an inspiring channel that celebrates authentic Cantonese family recipes! Written instructions with adjustable serving size can be found here.

For more family-friendly Cantonese videos about Dragon Boat Festival, please see the Cantonese for Families website here.

More Chinese Videos for Kids

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端午安康! (Duānwǔ ānkāng) Have a safe and healthy Dragon Boat Festival!


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