Dragon boat racing is observed and celebrated in many areas of east Asia. They are traditionally held as part of the June Dragon Boat Festivals all over China. However, when we lived there we searched all over our area to find such a thing to observe, with no luck. They were mostly held in Southern China the years we lived there.
What I didn’t realize, is that for the last 18 years there has been Dragon Boat Races in our own backyard. Well, you know, close to us… in Dartmouth at Lake Banook.
This year July 11 is the 18th Annual Manlife Dragon Boat Races.
Dragon Boat Racing is the “ultimate” in team paddling races! The crew of a standard dragon boat is typically 22, comprising 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, 1 drummer or caller at the bow facing toward the paddlers, and 1 sweep (a steerer) standing at the rear of the boat. Dragon boats however vary in length and the crew size will change accordingly, from small dragon boats with 10 paddlers up to the traditional boats which have upwards of 50 paddlers, plus drummer and sweep.
It was a lot of fun to be at this event today and see the racing. There was even a small performance of Chinese culture…dragon dance, Chinese ladies dance, and a young guy playing the erhu with a bit of an east coast fiddling style!
After the races, we decided it would be fun to eat at “The Great Wall”, a Chinese restaurant in downtown Halifax. It was lovely authentic atmosphere and what made it perfect was that there was a family beside us visiting from Shanghai speaking Chinese and eating “the Chinese way”
The whole experience just made me smile! A great day.