The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Hong Kong

On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, or around June in our Calendar, the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival takes place.

There are many legends as to the origin of this festival. One states that it probably got started as a celebration for the planting of the rice crop and to pray for a good rainfall since it was believed that Dragons controlled the rain and rivers.

People would put offerings in the river so that the dragons would bring rain for their crops.

moon cakes dragon boat festival

Another legend tells the story of Qu Yuan, an old man that drowns himself by jumping from a boat, because he couldn’t stand to see his country being destroyed by the poor leaders.

When the village people went to look for him, it was too late. They threw offerings of rice into the water to calm the man’s spirit.

One day, Qu Yuan’s spirit returned and told them the rice meant for him, was being devoured by the river dragon. He asked that they wrap the rice in leaves, in shapes like small pyramids. Today, people eat these rice dumplings, known as zongzi in memory of the old man.

Chinese Dragon Boat Racing

Nowadays, what characterizes the festivities is the Dragon Boat Races.

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Hong Kong - Stanley Dragon Boat Races

These are very noisy and exciting events with hundreds of teams competing against each other in this great tradition.

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival Hong Kong - Victoria Harbour Boat Races

Chinese Dragon Boats are long, narrow boats with a dragon's head at one end and a tail at the rear.

Chinese Dragon Boat Head

Teams of rowers paddle together in unison as they race to the finish line.

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival - Teams of rowers paddle together in unison as they race to the finish line

A leader sits in the front by the head, facing the paddlers, and sets the pace by pounding a large drum.

Chinese Dragon Boat Festival - A  drummer sits in the front  and sets the pace by pounding a large drum

Click on the arrow and watch this great clip from the Dragon Boat Races in Xiamen:

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Chinese Dragon Boat Festival 2016

For All Champ Rowers... Dragon Boat Festival is on June 9, 2016.

Dragon Boat festival


From National Geographic Kids
Pandas National Geographic

Here are some more of our favorite China Books and Resources for Children.

Dragon Boat Festival Children Books

Learn more about this colorful fest, how boats are built, how rowers prepare, the traditional foods, and more...
Chinese Culture books for Children: Dragon Boat Festival
Awakening the Dragon: The Dragon Boat Festival

Buy from Amazon UK - £7.49

For more about Chinese Dragons, what it means to be born in the year of the Dragon, the origins and legends:
China Books for children: Chinese Dragons
A Time of Golden Dragons

Buy from - £8.18

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