Dragon Boat Festival along the Gongchen Bridge

Dragon Boat Festival, or Double Fifth Festival(端午节), is celebrated widely throughout south China, in the 5th day of the 5th lunar month annually. Hangzhou is no exception. Dragon Boat competition is irregularly held along Gongchen Bridge (拱宸桥). Each year, two boats will leave from Mishi Lane(米市巷) and arrive at the Maiyu (Fish-Selling卖鱼桥) Bridge and Gongchen Brige(拱宸桥), enroute the Grand Canal. 

This tradition goes back thousands of years. It is celebrated not only to commemorate Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet living during the Warring State period (340BC-278BC), but also to celebrate a good harvest.

Months prior to the festival, wooden dragon boats will be carved and decorated. These dragon boats are usually equipped with red heads with yellow horns. Their bodies made of bamboo, are stuffed with straws.

Each boat is rowed by a team of 12 athletic paddlers and 3 leaders. (the front one using bamboo spar to test the depth of water and control the direction of the course) and one on the stern to hold the rudder with oar.

Accompanied by the thunderous sound of gongs, drums, firecrackers and the cheering from a group of ever-increasing spectators, the race is heart-pounding and exhilarating.

Another place to see Dragon Boat Racing is Xixi Wetland Park, one of the top 10 must-sees of Hangzhou.