Dragon Boat Racing is a symbol of Chinese culture and spirit. As one of the three largest Chinese festivals of the year, this ancient and time-honored celebration can now be witnessed world-wild. To be a part of a Dragon Boat Race as a participant or spectator, is a thrilling experience.
Dragon Boat racing is a reflection of a memorable historical event of self-sacrifice that occurred more than 2,400 years ago.
Numerous supremacy wars were erupting during the “Warring States” of the fourth century B.C.E.. Emperor Chu’s kingdom was one of the mightiest remaining. A man of great respect, Qu Yuan was a poet, minister and councilor to the Emperor. Unfortunately, he was cast into exile as a result of his politically sensitive poems. Distraught and inconsolable, Qu Yan drowned himself in the Mi Lo River in an act of desperation and sorrow.
Local fisherman raced to the tragic scene in their long, swift boats. To prevent his body from being despoiled by the fish, they splashed their oars and beat their drums to disperse them. They threw rice dumplings wrapped in leaves into the river in attempts to distract the fish from Qu Yuan. The Dragon Boat Festival, typically held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, re-enacts both the human tragedy and the sense of community that it evoked.