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hroughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years. In 2006, the traditional festival was listed as part of China’s
national intangible cultural heritage. In 2008, it was recognized as a public holiday in the Chinese mainland.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chu state
official and poet who lived during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) before the reu
nification of China under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). He was exiled after opposing his king’s decision to ally wit
h the neighboring state of Qin, and when Chu was finally conquered by Qin, he
committed suicide by drowning in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
The Chu people, who admired Qu Yuan for his loyalty and integrity, th
rew rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish so they would not eat the body of their po
et hero. People then started dragon boat racing to scare off the fish.
Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is cel
brated as the Dragon Boat Festival. The following are some customs for the festival.
the explosion sites, the police said.Television footage showed ambulances r
ushing the injured to the Colombo National Hospital, the Batticaloa Hospital in
the east and the Negombo Hospital on the outskirts of the capital where the explosions took place.
There has been no claim of responsibility so far for the multiple blasts.
In just one church, St. Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north o
f Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed, a police official told Reuters.
Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.
One of the explosions was at St Anthony’s Church in Kochcikade, Colombo.
St. Sebastian’s church posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Fa
cebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.
Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22 million, 70 percent are Buddh
ist, 12.6 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim, and 7.6 percent Christian, according to the country’s 2012 cen