The Dragon Boat Festival took place earlier this month while the dragon boat racing competitions took place a week later in Vancouver. The weather was nice on the Sunday I attended though it was raining the day before. Many people came to take part in the festivities and cheer on the competitors.
By the look on the competitors’ faces, you could tell they were giving it their 110% effort. I can only imagine how their arms must have burned by the end of the race.
This guy sitting fifth from the back (below) looked like he was going to die from exhaustion. Can you imagine doing this in the rain? Thankfully, the teams on Sunday didn’t have to contend with the wet and miserable conditions.
This race seemed close between teams 1 and 4, but it looked like team 4 took the win.
Besides the dragon boat competitions, there was also entertainment and food. There was pizza, donair, burritos, and more. But, where was the sticky rice? Dragon Boat Festival is known for the delicious glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves, also called zongzi.
One story about the origins of Dragon Boat Festival and eating sticky rice is related to one of China’s most beloved poets named Qu Yuan. He was a senior official in the court of Chu during the Warring States Period and was accused of treason. Although he was exiled by the king, Qu Yuan continued to love the state of Chu and write many poems that are well known today. He committed suicide by drowning himself in the Mi Luo River. Villagers rowed their boats on the river searching for his body while beating drums and throwing sticky rice into the water to prevent the fish from eating his body. So that’s how the tradition was born.
The only thing missing at this Dragon Boat Festival was the sticky rice, otherwise it would have been perfect.
But, there were many other things at the festival, such as a man making bubbles. All the kids and even adults seemed to enjoy the big bubbles this guy was making.
It reminded me of another bubble artist I had encountered in the streets of Bologna a few summers ago. Some of these huge bubbles floated away quite a distance before popping.
A man on stilts who appeared to be riding a dragon was also at the festival. I thought this was a funny and clever costume. Several people were getting selfies taken with him.
Here one of the winning teams received their medals on stage and basked in the glory as everyone snapped their photos. It was a perfect day for enjoying the races. Congratulations to everyone who raced and made it a great event to watch!