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Boston dragon boat-racing event excites, unites

By MINGMEI LI in Boston | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-11 12:06

The Living Root club team races in the 45th annual Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday. [Photo by Will Wang for chinadaily.com.cn]

Thousands of people enthusiastically participated in dragon boat races on the Charles River this weekend, along with the cultural fair celebrating the Chinese traditional event.

This year's Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, held Sunday near the John W. Weeks Footbridge on the river, featured 68 teams with about 2,000 paddlers from across Massachusetts, other New England states and New York. They competed in 500-meter races, which started in 1979.

"We want to promote dragon boat racing; we want to use this platform to promote Asian culture … people come here to learn, for exchange or just for fun, too," Gail Wang, board president of the Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, told China Daily.

Wang said that over the past year, dozens of volunteers for the 45th annual festival have been working diligently to preserve the tradition while also offering a fresh perspective to attendees.

"It's very important for [connections] of people … culture exchanges, and that's what we do," she said.

The festival, also called Duanwu, is a traditional Chinese festival observed on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. It commemorates the life and death of Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), an exiled poet and politician during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). Upon hearing that his state, Chu, had fallen, he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.

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