By Kate Ritchie
For Australian businesses looking to foster relationships with Chinese customers and stakeholders, understanding and celebrating significant cultural events is essential. One such event is the Dragon Boat Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday observed on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. Let’s take a look at the Dragon Boat Festival, how it’s celebrated, and how Australian businesses can stand out and get noticed during this time.
History of the Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwujie or Tuen Ng (in Cantonese), has a history spanning over 2,000 years. Although its origin is subject to debate, the most popular story attributes the festival to the famous Chinese poet and statesman Qu Yuan. Qu, a loyal advisor to the King of Chu (Zhou Dynasty), drowned himself in the Miluo River in 278 BCE to protest against the corruption and injustice in the kingdom. Upon learning of his death, the local villagers paddled out in boats, beating drums, and throwing rice dumplings wrapped in leaves into the water to keep fish from eating Qu Yuan’s body. Today, the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates his noble sacrifice and serves as a reminder to uphold virtue and integrity.
Celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival
Today the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated with a range of activities, the most iconic being dragon boat racing. These races feature long, narrow boats adorned with dragon heads and tails, where teams of rowers paddle to the beat of a drummer. Other customs include eating zongzi, sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, which symbolise the rice offerings thrown into the river for Qu Yuan.
Sending Greetings to Your Chinese Customers
As an Australian business, it is the perfect time to show your cultural awareness and respect for your Chinese customers. This demonstrates your sensitivity to Chinese culture and will leave a positive impression. Gift exchanges are always popular for Chinese festivals. Gifts might include Australian wine, special foods or health products and items unique to Australia. Whatever you do, make an effort to present the gift in beautiful packaging and present it with two hands. If you are a business selling such products, you can also offer specials for the Dragon Boat Festival; take care to use appealing packaging of such products. If you need help to either select a gift or to promote your specials, reach out to our marketing experts who will be pleased to help.
Digital is the preferred method to send greetings and promote your special offers:
- Send your greetings and promotions in Chinese. We recommend simplified Chinese for mainland China and traditional characters for customers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. For example, 端午安康 (in Simplified Chinese)
- Use social media platforms: Leverage popular Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat and Red to connect with your customers and share your wishes.
- Collaborate with Chinese influencers: Partner with suitable Chinese influencers who can promote your brand and special offers during the festival.
- Offer limited-time promotions: Develop a special offer to attract customers and make them available for a limited time during the festival.
- Design unique and culturally relevant marketing materials: Incorporate dragon boat imagery, Chinese calligraphy, and festive colours in your promotional materials. Red and gold are always popular, but everyone uses them – try green in this special festival.
Chin is always available to help businesses use Chinese social media to connect with Chinese customers in the lead up and during the festival. We can prepare greeting phrases and design digital greeting cards for you.
Dragon Boat Festival Celebrations Around the World
Apart from China, the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated in various countries and regions, including Australia. In Australia, several cities host dragon boat racing events, such as the Sydney Lunar New Year Dragon Boat Races and the Melbourne International Dragon Boat Festival. While not coinciding with the actual festival date, these events attract a diverse audience, including Chinese migrants, locals, and tourists, fostering cultural exchange and understanding.
The Dragon Boat Festival offers a unique opportunity for Australian organisations to connect with their Chinese customers and demonstrate their appreciation for Chinese culture. As it is a festival less well-known by Australians, it therefore presents a good platform to garner attention with less competition. By tailoring your marketing content and choosing the most suitable channels, you can foster long-lasting relationships and grow your business.
To find out how you can harness the Dragon Boat Festival for your business or organisation, please get in touch with our enthusiastic marketing team. They’ll be sure to have some good ideas and beautiful designs to help – firstname.lastname@example.org