ABOUT DRAGON BOATS
A dragon boat is a human-powered wooden watercraft. It is shaped and decorated in the form of a Chinese dragon. Dragon boats vary in size by region, and the crew numbers change accordingly. Generally it is about 20–35 meters in length, and it needs 30–60 people to paddle it.
During the race each team has a drummer in the head of the dragon boat; the drummer is the heartbeat of the team. Dragon boat teams paddle harmoniously at a pace which is set by the drummer, and do their best synchronized efforts.
ORIGINS OF DRAGON BOAT RACING
Honoring Qu Yuan
Qu Yuan (343–278 BC), was a Chu State official in the Warring States Period. He was the earliest famous poet in China. See Qu Yuan Ancestral Hall for more about Qu Yuan.
When the Chu capital fell the patriotic poet drowned himself in the Miluo River. The local people were said to have paddled out on boats, either to scare the fish away or to retrieve his body. The dragon boat races represent the attempts to rescue and recover the body of Qu Yuan. This is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.