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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuen Ng Festival

Today is the Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat) Festival and our waterways will be dotted with these narrow ornate boats.

Fifth Moon, Day Five Click for western date . This Festival, also known as Tuen Ng Festival, commemorates the death of a popular Chinese national hero, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Mi Lo River over 2,000 years ago to protest against the corrupt rulers. Legend says that as townspeople attempted to rescue him, they beat drums to scare fish away and threw dumplings into the sea to keep the fish from eating Qu Yuan's body.

The real highlight of the festival is the fierce dragon boats racing in a lively, vibrant spectacle. Teams race the elaborately decorated dragon boats to the beat of heavy drums. The special boats, which measure more than 10 metres, have ornately carved and painted "dragon" heads and tails, and each carries a crew of 20-22 paddlers.

Participants train in earnest for the competition. Sitting two abreast, with a steersman at the back and a drummer at the front, the paddlers race to reach the finishing line, urged on by the pounding drums and the roar of the crowds.

Today, festival activities recall this legendary event. People eat rice-and-meat dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves; and many look forward to swimming or even simply dipping their hands in the water.

Local races will feature today and on the 23rd and 24th, we will host the International Dragon Boat Races.


Sunny Delight said...

It looks to be a beautiful sight, and so thrilling I bet with the drums beating!

George said...

There are hundreds of dragon boat races in Canada at this time of year. It seems like every community has one. The boats are sponsored by companies and the companies are required to man (or should that be woman? or maybe people) the boats. It is a fun and event filled day. Some towns/cities use a small lake, others use a big lake ... we use a river than runs through the center of the city.

Fusion said...

That looks so interesting. I'd love to watch them race. Maybe I will one year...

NWO said...

How interesting! Dragon boats are becoming popular in Portland, Oregon too.

LePhare said...

Not quite Oxford Vs Cambridge...... much more fun!
And food as well, Mmmmmmm.

Fiona said...

Hi everyone - yes, dragon boat racing has grown far and wide, anywhere with a Chinese population is sure to have them and at the Internationals here, we have teams from all over the world. It's amazing to see and hear.

We actually had a sunny day here yesterday, which is NOT par for the course on Tuen Ng. Hot, sunny, humid.

The food reference was just for you Ian ;)


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