Dragon Boating Festival: May 14-16 2010

June 16 is the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, otherwise know as Duan Wu Jie, or Dragon Boat Festival. With approximately 20 million people out on boats during the festival, we invite you to come and watch the races in Beijing.

There will be races at the Olympic park lake (Ao Lin Pi Ke Shui Shang Gong Yuan) on Monday 14 June in the afternoon. It will be the best place to watch the races.

Or, if you want to really experience the festival, come and join the team on Sunday afternoon, 4.30pm at Hou Hai.

Competitions and Trips

Each year, we participate in several competitions against other dragon boating teams from China. (And occasionally some of the competitions we attend draw teams from outside China.)

So far in 2010, we’ve competed in races in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, and have competitions scheduled in June in Xiamen (Fujian province) and Beijing.

Last year, we travelled to Hunan for a competition that took place over Duanwu Jie. We also participated in two different competitions in Beijing, one that took place on Houhai and another in Yuyuantan Park.

In previous years, we’ve participated in competitions in Ningbo, Luoyang and other interesting Chinese destinations. We’ll be figuring out our competition and travel schedule for 2010 in April and May, so stay tuned!

Practice on Houhai (April – October)

During the on-water season (April – October), we practice three times a week at Houhai, the historic lake near the Drum and Bell Towers.  Tuesday and Thursday evenings are for committed team members who are training for competitions.

Sunday afternoon practices, which start at 4:30 p.m., are open to people interested in testing the waters to see if they want to join the team, more casual paddlers who just want to row every now and again, and to anybody who wants to spend a fun afternoon rowing on the lake and meeting new people.

Practice consists of drills like practicing race starts, sometimes a bit of friendly competition within our team and a lot of chanting of “jia you!” (others enjoying the lake always get a kick out of our chanting).

After practice on Sundays, team members who can stick around usually grab dinner together at one of the Chinese restaurants nearby.

Get directions for how to get to the boathouse on Houhai for practice.

Houhai exercise

Swimmers on the banks of Houhai

Photo Gallery

Dragon Boat Hunan Beijing Houhai dragon boating dragon boat rowing practice Beijing dragon boating team