Taipei Dragon Boat Festival to feature a variety of activities

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - Page 2

The Dragon Boat Festival in Taipei City will take place from June 22 to June 24 at the Dajia Riveside Park, with dragon boats from more than 200 local and foreign teams and great performances set to mark the annual traditional holiday.

The festival will feature a series of traditional rituals, including dragon eye dotting, an activity for making zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), an egg-balancing contest and other ceremonies, in addition to dragon boat races during the three-day event at the park.

The Taipei City Sports Office said the festival will also feature various activities, including a DIY traditional art workshop, parent-child games and music performances.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday participated in the ritual of “dragon eye painting” on dragon boats at the Qu Yuan Temple in Beitou (北投) to promote the festival, and said he expected a large crowd to attend this year’s event.

“The dragon boat festival celebrates one of the most important traditions in our culture and history, and by taking part in the festival, we are preserving the tradition for future generations,” he said.

The eye-painting ceremony is a ritual to “open the eyes” and bring the dragon boats to life before the race, which this year will feature 208 teams from around the world.

The festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of every year, commemorates the attempt to rescue the patriotic Chinese poet Qu Yuan (屈原), who drowned in a river.

Unable to save him, people threw zongzi into the water so that the fish would eat the rice rather than the body of their hero.

Today, people still follow the tradition by eating zongzi and participating in dragon boat races in honor of Qu Yuan’s spirit.

This year’s festival will hold Taiwan’s largest dragon boat competition — with awards of up to NT$400,000 for the winning team.