Jiang Village Dragon Boat Festival

The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, which is fast approaching, is a day for Chinese people to follow the traditional customs of making rice dumplings, wearing sashes and suspending artemisia on their doors. For Hangzhou people, the most interesting thing of the Dragon Boat Festival is to visit Jiang Village and watch the famous dragon boat race.

The Dragon Boat Race in Jiang Village, Hangzhou City, has a history of over a thousand years. It is said that the race began in the Tang Dynasty, when villagers, with the help of the dragon king, raced dragon boats in Xixi wetland to pray for mild weather for crops. In the Southern Song Dynasty, this custom gradually flourished, and in the Qing Dynasty, it was sealed by Emperor Qianlong as the "Dragon Boat Festival". Today, the Jiang Village Dragon Boat Festival has become a state-level intangible cultural heritage and is known worldwide.

As in the past, a few days before the Dragon Boat Festival, villagers sacrifice the dragon king, and on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, at noon, people draw all kinds of dragon boats and gather in Xixi Wetland. Jiang Village Dragon Boat Race is more a competition of performance and skills than of speed. It is a featured dragon boat race with local characteristics. To the beat of drums, dragon boats go in and out of the water like flying dragons and, in doing so, display a variety of patterns. With cheering crowds on both sides of the river and flags waving high in the air, it’s no wonder the participants of the race always show great skill and bravery.The climax of the Jiang Dragon Boat Festival is "Shengyang" or "Winning ripple". The commanders squat together and the dragon boat pushes out a pretty spray. Afterwards, the dragon boat must rotate 360 degrees in situ on the water, which is the most difficult part of the display.

Besides the Jiang Village Dragon Boat Race, there is also a Xixi International Dragon Boat Race and whereas the former is a competition of skills, the latter is all about speed. The Xixi International Dragon Boat Race has been held since 2008, attracting more and more foreigners to experience the charm of one of Hangzhou’s characteristic festivals. The proportion of foreigners participating this year has reached more than 95%, and they come from 36 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Italy and Australia.