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When The Dragons Race

 


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The annual Hong Kong Dragon boat Festival also known as Tuen Ng Festival to locals is a riot of color and a festival that celebrates the traditional Chinese values of Hong Kong. The Dragon Boat races were inaugurated to commemorate the death of a popular Chinese hero Qu Yuan who according legend has drowned himself in protest of the country's corrupt rulers. Though no one drowns themselves today, the Dragon Boat races have continued through out the history of the country.

Legend has it that the people living in the town tried to rescue Qu Yuan and had tried to scare way the fish by beating drums and by throwing dumplings in the water to prevent them from eating his body. The Dragon Boat races are usually held on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese lunar calendar which usually corresponds to the month of June on a regular calendar. The races are held in different parts of Hong Kong sometimes on Stanely Beach, Shin Mun River in Shatin or Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter.

Today participants at the Dragon Boat races go through a grueling training regime and an arduous fitness program as the races are physically challenging. The Dragon boats are ceremonially decorated in a multitude of colors and have a decorative figurehead usually crafted in the shape of a dragon. The boat accommodates 20 oarsmen who actually do the rowing, a steerer who controls the rudder and a drummer.

The Drum on board the boat is believed to be derived from the legend of Qu Yuan, however the drum also has a more practical purpose as it helps the paddlers keep rhythm and row in unison, it is often said that the key to winning a dragon boat race is not to be strong but to have good rhythm. Onlookers usually eat traditional Chinese dumplings that are made with rice and meat and later rolled in bamboo leaves; again this is also believed to be associated with the legend of Qu Yuan.

The Dragon Boat races are a national holiday making it the only sporting event that is celebrated as such. Hong Kong holds many other interesting experiences for tourists and the key to enjoying your holiday here is to choose a hotel in Hong Kong located close to major attractions and shopping districts like Hotel Jen .

Naveen Marasinghe is an Online Marketing Executive at eMarketingEye which is a search engine marketing company that offers integrated Internet marketing services and specializes in serving the online travel and hospitality industry.

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