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Record numbers compete in annual London dragon boat race festival

By BO LEUNG in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-07-02 09:20

Teams racing along the River Thames in London on Sunday in one of Europe's largest dragon boat festivals. JAMES SADLER/ FOR CHINA DAILY

There was also traditional Chinese lion dancing, and Chinese classical, ethnic and modern dance performances.

Priscilla To, director general of London's Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, said: "Dragon boat racing has been enjoyed for over 2,000 years in China, and since Hong Kong launched the first international dragon boat festival, it has been embraced globally as a competitive sport by professionals, amateurs and charity teams looking to raise money for good causes while having fun, in the spirit of this event."

The first London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival was held 24 years ago and was organized by the London Chinatown Lions Club. The event has grown into a major cultural happening in London and attracts thousands of spectators and participants each year.

The traditional time for dragon boat racing is the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, a day that features races as well as the eating of rice dumplings in memory of the ancient poet Qu Yuan.

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