The Dragon Boats Racing is the oldest of festivals celebrated in the world. Having its origins in Chinese cultural heritage, this 2000 years old festival is one of the most popular festivals of Hong Kong. The festival is held in the month of June every year. The major attraction of this festival is the dragon boats race where dragon boats made of teak are paddled from one end of the river to the other.
Originally called Duen Ng or Duanwu by the native Chinese, they derived the current name as the 19th century European visitors could not pronounce nor understand what the Chinese name meant. Hence, the festival is now being called Dragon boat festival. Contemporary Dragon boat race is a group sport involving teams that paddle the boat to its finishing line in a fierce race. Since 1976, the race is acknowledged in Hong Kong as an international sporting event.
The dragon boats are very attractive. They are long rigged boats crafted to resemble the Chinese dragons with symbolic dragon head and tail. The day is positioned based on the Chinese Lunar calendar and hence does not fall on the same day every year. According to tradition, the festival is held on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. Hence the day is also called the double fifth. The day is recognized as a National Holiday, attended and celebrated by all.
The race is organized by the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association that not only propagated the popularity of this traditional sport but also provides training to participants and frames the rule and regulations of the game. It is responsible for appointing officials to take care of the event’s proceedings and make it successful year after year.