History of Dragon Boat Racing


Dragon boating is part of a larger Chinese cultural tradition that dates back 2,400 years. It began on the banks of the life-sustaining rivers in the valleys of southern China as a fertility rite performed to ensure bountiful crops. The first participants held their celebration on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The race was held to avert misfortune and encourage the rains needed for prosperity, and the object of their worship was the dragon.


Today dragon boat races are held on six continents. In Canada alone festivals are held in 24 cities from coast to coast and each festival brings together thousands of people from the public, private, and volunteer sectors. In addition to the races, participants and spectators alike enjoy exciting performances and interesting cultural displays.


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