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HISTORY OF DRAGON BOAT RACING

Dragon boat racing has a rich history of ancient ceremonial and ritualistic traditions, which originated in southern central China more than 2500 years ago. 

 

The legend starts with the story of Qu Yuan, who was a minister in one of the Warring State governments, Chu. He was slandered by jealous government officials and banished by the king. Out of disappointment in the Chu monarch, he drowned himself into the Miluo river. The common people rushed to the water and tried to recover his body. In commemoration of Qu Yuan, people hold dragon boat races yearly on the day of his death according to the legend. They also scattered rice into the water to feed the fish, to prevent them from eating Qu Yuan's body, which is one of the origins of zongzi (a traditional Chinese rice dish).

 

China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan each have an annual public holiday to mark the races. 

 

To learn how it became a favourite sport of breast cancer survivors - click here.