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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: PENANG INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL FROM MALAYSIA!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

PENANG INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL FROM MALAYSIA!!




Dragon Boat Racing History

    On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month every year, Chinese communities worldwide celebrate the Duanwu Jie festival, which commemorates the death of the Chinese patriot/poet Qu Yuan.
    As a rival state conquered his home kingdom, Qu Yuan committed suicide, drowning himself in the Miluo river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.










    His countrymen paddled swiftly out to the middle of the river to retrieve his body, while others threw packets of rice in the water to distract the fish from eating the poet's body.
    These two acts, it is said, are the origin of the festival's two main preoccupations - the glutinous rice dumplings known as zongzi, and the dragon boat races.










Dragon Boat Racing in Modern Times

    Dragon boat racing, despite its roots in ancient tradition, are as exciting a sport as they come. Two or more boats compete against each other in heats spanning distances of about 1 1/4 mile (2000 meters) or less.
    The boats conform to traditional designs, and are extremely eye-catching. Each boat is mounted with a dragon's head and tail, finely carved to meet the traditional Chinese dragon appearance (in case you didn't know, a Chinese dragon has an ox's head, a deer's antlers, a horse's mane, and a fish's tail).











    Each boat is crewed by up to twenty paddlers, facing the front of the boat (as opposed to Western rowing sports, where the rower faces the rear). A drummer sits in front of the boat, facing the rowers, dictating the rhythm for the row team. A sweep, or tiller, sits aft, steering the boat.
    Strength and endurance are necessary, but not sufficient, for success. Dragon boat racing, as a sport, demands the closest teamwork possible from teams that want to get through the finish line first.







Dragon Boat Racing in Penang, Malaysia

    In Penang, Malaysia, the dragon boat races are especially famous. The region's first dragon boat race was held here in 1956, on the occasion of the 100th founding anniversary of Georgetown.

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