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Date: Chinese Lunar Calendar 5/5 (usually June) |
A Dragon boat is a very long and narrow human powered boat used in the team paddling sport or Dragon boat racing which originated in China. For racing events, dragon boats are always rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails and are required to carry a large drum aboard.
The dragon race held in Nanjing is one of the most dynamic dragon boat festivals in China. In recent years, many companies and universities in the city have begun sponsoring and organizing teams - even training all year to prepare for May's race. The race is held on a Saturday in May in Lake Mochou Park in the heart of Nanjing. The lake is a beautiful setting for the races-rimmed by trees and traditional pavilions, the reflections of Nanjing's skyscrapers glitter in the water. On the day of the race, the park is festooned with flags and decorations and crowds of people gather on the shore to watch the race. Every year almost 30 teams compete, the heats, finals, and semi finals lasting from morning till late afternoon. The dragon boats get their name from their long shape, with a carved dragon head at their prow, and the stern trailing off into a long dragon's tail. They are paddled by teams of around 10, each person with one oar, their pace set by the pounding of a huge drum in the boat. The race is a short, straight, intense sprint across the lake, while the rhythmic thuds of the drums echo across the water.