Picture Of The Day: Enter the dragon dancers


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The Independent Online

Beijing's three-day celebrations for the Duanwu festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival for the vessels that are raced to mark the occasion, began to blossom yesterday as dancers took to the stage dressed as flowers for the opening ceremony.

Stiltwalkers joined jugglers and wrestlers in displaying circus tricks, while women donned ornate costumes and face paint.

The festival marks the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, when in 277BC the patriotic poet Qu Yuan is said to have committed suicide by drowning. The tradition of racing boats decorated as dragons is dedicated to the efforts made to save him. Duanwu has been an official public holiday in mainland China since 2008 and is marked by Chinese citizens across the world.