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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dragon Boat Festival


I seem to be promoting my home city a lot at the moment, but the weather is truly beautiful.

And the Dragon Boat Festival is special

Dragon Boating is a unique blend of sport, culture and celebration

According to legend, in 400BC the Chinese Statesman and revered poet Ch'y Yuan drowned himself in the Mi Lo river to protest the corrupt regime of the Ch'u Dynasty.

Local fishermen raced out in their boats to save him, but were too late. To prevent his body being eaten by fish they beat their paddles furiously on the water and threw rice as a sacrifice to his spirit.
Today the Chinese people commemorate his death each year with the spectacular Dragon Boat Festivals that happen around the world.

In Wellington, it started out as a corporate challenge, but then it became a sport, and then it became Just Fun, and now it is international.

(Please note, New Zealand currently holds the trophy, not Australia.)

Dragon Boating involves 20 paddlers in one boat, a sweep who stands at the back to steer the boat and a drummer who sits on the front.  The race is held in Wellington Harbour,  right in the CBD.  Just 50 metres out from the shores of Frank Kitts Park, the course is a short walk from Civic Square, the City Library, Te Papa, or wherever you might be, downtown. All teams load from Aotea Lagoon.

(In case you are mystified, "CBD" means Central Business District.)

You are going to be here?  Wonderful.  Adult teams race on Saturday, 16th March, and school teams race the next day, Sunday 17th March.  There will be stalls, so you can shop your heart out, as well as watch the fun.

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