By Elaine Dunn
The fifth day of the fifth lunar month is when Chinese the world over traditionally celebrate Dragon Boat Festival – a day that commemorates the suicide of the scholar and statesman Qu Yuan, around 278 B.C. China Insight covered the folklore surrounding this day, also known as DuanWu Festival in its “What’s the occasion” series in June 2013.
The festival falls on June 2 this year. And in the ultra modern city of Hong Kong, this festival has become one huge party on water. Between June 6-8, it will be hosting one of the highest-profile international sporting events associated with the festival - the China Construction Bank Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in Victoria Harbour. This three-day event is jointly organized by the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association and Hong Kong Tourism Board. Approximately 5,000 top international dragon boat athletes will be participating in three days of intense paddling. Teams come from nearby Asian countries such as mainland China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and as far away as Canada, Germany, U.K. and the U.S. Spectators on land will gather for “boats, beer and cheers.”
After the race, everyone (spectators and athletes) moves on to the San Miguel Beer Fest for music, dance and jugs of San Mig!
Other races that take place on the proper festival day itself, which happens to be a holiday in Hong Kong, include:
SunLife Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships where some 200 local and international teams participate in the action and attract a crowd of over 30,000 spectators.
Water Parade in Tai O's Dragon Boat Festival, organized by three local fishermen associations to entertain the gods, this festival takes place amidst traditional stilt houses where dragon boats pull colorfully decorated sampans carrying temple deities in a water parade.
Aberdeen Dragon Boat Races takes place in the charming Aberdeen Fishing Village and spectators can watch from bamboo-canopied stands with advance tickets
Cheung Chau Dragon Boat Festival
Saikung Dragon Boat Festival
Most of the races are in the morning, leaving the afternoon to enjoy local town festivals and to sample some great fresh local seafood.
Can’t get to Hong Kong? Watch for the Twin Cities’ Dragon Festival in July.