Local Customs

June 2016

Dragon Boat Festival

09.06.16
Hong Kong

A major annual event on the racing calendar, the Stanley dragon boats championship takes place on Tuen Ng Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, which is the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.

Dragon boat racing dates back more than 2,000 years, when superstitious Chinese villages celebrated the 5th day of the 5th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. They raced to avert misfortune, and the object of their worship was the dragon.

Today dragon boat racing involves a team of 20 paddlers in a 40-foot boat, which is shaped like a large canoe with a dragon's head carved at the bow and a dragon's tail at the stern. A drummer at the helm beats out frantic rhythms to encourage the participants.

Hong Kong dragon boats are world famous, and the event at Stanley is a popular spectacle. Stanley (Chek Chue) was once a small fishing village on the south side of Hong Kong Island. Dragon boat racing was a long-standing local enthusiasm, and in the late 1960s the local races began to attract the interest of expats living in the area. In the 1970s the expats began to race against the locals and the event began to gain momentum.

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