Qu Yuan (屈原) was a prominent poet and politician during the Warring States period of ancient China. He was born around 340 BC in the state of Chu (楚国), which was one of the major states of that era. Qu Yuan is best known for his contributions to Chinese poetry, particularly his works expressing his deep patriotism and lamentations for the state of Chu.

Qu Yuan served as a high-ranking official in the Chu court, holding the position of Left Minister (左徒). He advocated for reforms and alliances to strengthen Chu against its rivals, particularly the powerful state of Qin. However, his political opponents undermined his influence at court, leading to his eventual exile.

Despite his exile, Qu Yuan continued to express his love for his homeland through his poetry. His most famous work is the “Li Sao” (离骚), or “The Encountering Sorrow,” a long poem that reflects his personal struggles and his vision for a better society. Qu Yuan’s poetry is highly regarded for its emotional depth, vivid imagery, and profound philosophical insights.

Qu Yuan is also celebrated as the central figure of the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节), which is held annually in China to commemorate his life and contributions. The festival features dragon boat races and the consumption of zongzi (粽子), traditional rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves, as offerings to Qu Yuan’s spirit.