Color and competitive sportsmanship are the main attractions of the modern event, but the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival has a rich history dating back thousands of years.
The origins of the race can be traced to the popular Chinese poet and patriot, Qu Yuan who in the 3rd century threw himself into the Mi Lo River in a personal protest against a corrupt government.
Qu Yuan, an honest man.
hearing the news, local people frantically mounted an epic rescue operation. As they raced out in boats to save Qu Yuan, they threw rice into the river and pounded drums to scare away any fish who might want to eat him. Sadly, they arrived too late.
To commemorate the event, dragon boat competitions were soon being held between different clans or villages,
and winners were awarded money prizes, festive food, or wine.
Today, the reenactment of the rescue operation continues with furious
drumbeats and throwing fire crackers and ceremonial
rice over the bow in a symbolic search for an honest man.
Dragon Boat Festival Fun Facts
• Superstitions associated with the Dragon Boat Festival include protection against illnesses caused by moist, warm weather. During the festival, xiangbao (fragrant pouches of herbs) are traditionally tied around the necks of children during the festival. Meanwhile, adults successfully ward-off of summer illness by imbibing a healthy dose of hsiung huang, a special rice wine.
• Holiday foods served during the Dragon Boat Festival include rice dumplings or zongzi to symbolize the rice offerings on behalf of Qu Yuan.
dragon boats were large enough to accommodate many rowers at a
time. and measured anywhere from fifty to
one hundred feet long! Today, dragon boats are smaller in size but continue to be decorated with the traditional wooden dragon head at the bow, and a dragon
tail at the stern.
• The largest dragon boat festival in North America is the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia which takes place every year in June. In the US, some of the largest dragon boat festivals include the Houston Dragon Boat Festival in Texas and the San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival in California.
Dragon Boat Festival Races in the USA
A traditional dragon boat race takes place on the River Danube in Hungary.
More about the Chinese Dragon Boast Festival around the Web
Boat Festival - Take in an encyclopedic collection of facts, history, culture and customs including dragon boat racing
information, its practice as a modern sport, related links to racing schedules in the U.S. & Canada, from Wikipedia..