Dragon Boat History

Dragon Boat Racing originated approximately 2500 years ago in China as a ritual to appease the rain gods, encourage rainfall, and celebrate rice planting. It has also been tied to the tale of poet and high-ranking official (Qu Yuan) from China during the Warring States Period, who was exiled from his state by a corrupt king. When he heard that his court had been destroyed by enemies, he drowned himself out of sorrow. It is said the villagers went out in the river with boats and drums to try to rescue his body.

A dragon boat is a long and narrow boat powered by humans, that is affixed with a decorative Chinese dragon head and large drum at the front, dragon tail, and scales printed on the hull. During races, teams of paddlers paddle furiously towards a finish line, to a drum beat, providing onlookers with an exciting and colorful experience.

Today, Dragon Boat Racing has become the world’s fastest growing water sport. It is a powerful way for participants to honor the past, build cultural bridges, and have a blast on the water.

Commemorating poet Qu Yuan on the Dragon Boat Festival - CGTN