Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dragonboat Festival


Today we stood on the promenade at Tai Po Waterfront Park and watched two heats of the Dragon Boat Race which has an estimated 30,000 active paddlers at various locations throughout Hong Kong. Despite being a major annual event in Tai Po District, it was our first time observing this popular sport.

In researching the Dragon Boat Festival for this post, I learned that in Chinese history a famous poet and politician Qu Yuan drowned himself in protest against government corruption. Some loyal villagers then paddled out in boats to try to save his body. They loudly banged drums to prevent the fish from eating Qu's body and lured the fish with rice dumplings which they threw in the water. The boats, the drums, and the rice dumplings have become crucial elements that remain part of the dragon boat festival to this day.

We have no idea what the commentator was shouting in Chinese or even which teams won the two races we observed, but we certainly enjoyed the excitement of attending this cultural event.

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