About Dragon Boating

Dragon Boat Festival / Duanwu
The Duanwu Festival is traditionally celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunar calendar.

Duanwu commemorates the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan. He was a loyal minister serving the King of Chu during the Warring States Period in the third century BCE. Initially his sovereign favored Qu Yuan, but over time, his wisdom and erudite ways antagonized other court officials. As a result Qu Yuan was accused of trumped-up charges of conspiracy and ejected by his sovereign. During his exile, Qu Yuan composed many poems to express his anger and sorrow towards his sovereign and people.

In the year 278 BCE, at the age of 61, Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River. He clasped a heavy stone to his chest and leaped into the water. Knowing that Qu Yuan was a righteous man, the people of Chu rushed to the river to try to save him. The people desperately searched the waters in their boats looking for Qu Yuan but were unsuccessful in their attempt to rescue him.

When it was known that Qu Yuan had been lost forever, the local people began the tradition of throwing sacrificial cooked rice into the river for their lost hero. However, a local fisherman had a dream that Qu Yuan did not get any of the cooked rice that was thrown into the river in his honour. Instead the fish in the river were eating the rice. The following year, the tradition of wrapping the rice in bamboo leaves to make zongzi began, which would sink into the river in the hopes that it would reach Qu Yuan’s body.

A second version of the story holds that when it was known that Qu Yuan had been lost to the river, local fisherman dreamt that the fish in the river were eating Qu Yuan’s body. The local people developed the idea that if the fish in the river were not hungry, then they would not eat Qu Yuan’s body. People thus began throwing zongzi into the river to feed the fish in hope that Qu Yuan’s body would be spared.

What is a Dragon Boat?

Dragon boats are long, slim, open boats, made to traditional designs of various sizes and lengths. The crew use single bladed paddles to drive the boat forward.

Dragon Boats have been used for spiritual and competitive purposes for over 5000 years in China, with the smallest boat, called a “Baby Dragon”, having a crew of eight Paddlers, while some boats are designed for more than 100 paddlers. The modern design of the International Dragon Boat Federation International Standard Racing Boat has a Crew of 22, consisting of 20 paddlers, one Drummer and a Helm (Steerer).

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  1. heming says:

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