Dragon Boat Racing at Jiang Village

2016-10-19

Dragon Boat racing at Jiang Village is a traditional annual custom that is celebrated every year on the 5th of May on the lunar Calendar. It is held at Jiang Village in Xixi Wetlands. It is famously known as the Dragon Boat Festival. This is often the favorite festival of the year for children and adults of all ages!


The custom came into existence during the Tang Dynasty. After hundreds of years of development, it has gradually become an essential part of Hangzhou tradition and a cherished aspect of Chinese culture. Dragon Boat racing at Jiang Village is also known as “Longzhou Shenghui” which literally means the pageant of dragon boats.

Legend has it that in the Qing Dynasty, when the Qianlong Emperor was inspecting the Jiangnan area, he was so tempted by the long-standing fame of Dragon Boat racing at Jiang Village that he deliberately went to watch this famed race celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival. Marveling at the race, the Qianlong Emperor bestowed the race “Longzhou Shenghui (龙舟盛会)”.


Traditionally, the Dragon Boat racing event at Jiang Village is also celebrated by praying to the Dragon King for a smooth year ahead. It is of great importance to the Chinese. No matter how busy they are, or how far they are away from home, Hangzhou citizen would come home to join in the event. With its beating drums booming, myriads of colorful flags waving, and thousands of people cheering on both sides of the river, Dragon Boat racing at Jiang Village is a spectacular and soul stirring event!

The dragon boats are a marvellou fusion of construction and art. The boats take the shape of Chinese Dragon (which was the symbol of the Emperors of ancient China) with decorative dragon heads and tails and are often  painted in colorful reds, whites, yellows, or blacks. Normally, there is a steersman, a drummer, and twelve paddlers on board. With steersman controlling the boat, paddlers frenetically row the boat in cadence with the drumbeats which is considered to be the "heartbeat" of the dragon boat. Absolutely wonderful!