The Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese Duanwu Festival) is a lunar holiday, occurring on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and known locally by its Cantonese name Tuen Ng. This festival is a significant holiday celebrated in China and the one with the longest history. The name for the festival in China was originally the Upright Sun Festival but this was changed by foreigners to the Dragon Boat Festival, notably for the dragon boat races, held particularly in the southern provinces, Hong Kong and Macau where there are many rivers and lakes.
This festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a popular poet and minister who is said to have committed suicide at the age of 35 by drowning himself in a river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 B.C. Qu Yuan was an honest and loyal minister who was held in high esteem in the kingdom of Chu (situated in the present day Hunan and Hubei provinces). When a corrupt prince vilified Qu Yuan, he was disgraced and dismissed from his office. Realising the kingdom was now in the hands of evil and corrupt officials, Qu Yuan jumped into a river. Nearby fishermen tried to save him and were unable to recover the body. Mourning the death of the poet, the people threw cooked rice so the fish would eat the rice rather than their hero. The spirit of Qu Yuan appeared in the river and said that a huge reptile in the river had stolen the rice offering and suggested that they wrap the rice in silk and bind it with threads before throwing it in the river. This later turned into the custom of eating “Zong Zi” (boiled glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves) and rice dumplings to symbolize offerings to Qu Yuan. The dragon boat races represent the attempts to rescue and recover the body of Qu Yuan.
Dragon boat racing is a popular sport in Hong Kong which has an estimated 30,000 active paddlers. During 2013, Hong Kong hosts major international and local dragon boat festivals, including the traditional Tuen Ng dragon boat races on 12th June at various locations and the three-day Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival which features the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races at East Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade at Victoria Harbour on 21st to 23rd June.
HONG KONG DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL (TUEN NG) 12th JUNE 2013. The dragon boat races at the traditional Tuen Ng Festival on Wednesday 12th June 2013, will see local races taking place at several locations including Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Tuen Mun (Castle Peak Bay), Cheung Chau, Tai Po, Aberdeen, Discovery Bay and Tai O on Lantau Island and Stanley, which hosts the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships.
These photographs were taken at the Aberdeen Dragon Boat Festival. Aberdeen is famous to tourists for its floating village and floating seafood restaurants located within the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelters. The Tanka people are generally associated with the fishing industry, and there are also several dozen expatriates living on boats in the harbour.