However, he was continually slandered by politicians hoping to blacken his name in the court and ultimately he was exiled by the king. Without Qu’s guidance however the state was soon invaded by a neighboring dynasty. Upon hearing this news, Qu Yuan threw himself into the Miluo River.
Legend has it that people living near the river used dragon boats to try to search for and rescue his body, albeit unsuccessfully. They also threw rice balls into the water to ensure the fish didn’t eat him. Eating wrapped up pieces of sticky rice is a tradition that has been kept alive today in the form of Zongzi. Coupled with the dragon boat races around the country the day of Qu Yuan’s suicide has become the Duanwu Festival.
However, it might not be completely accurate to attribute the origin of the festival to solely to Qu Yuan’s suicide. Records show that even before this people marked the day.