On Tuesday, large fishing boats decorated with colorful flags lined up to mark the beginning of the Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong.
The former fishing village of Aberdeen came alive with sounds and colors of festival participants in dragon-headed vessels.
The Dragon Boat Festival, or Tuen Ng Festival, is held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. The Chinese tradition is marked by dragon boat races and sampling of rice dumpling treats.
Teams representing companies, universities, special clubs and fishermen’s groups lined up for the races, which kicked off at approximately 8.40 a.m. local time.
Captain of the Hong Kong Challenge Club, Hui Kin-wah, declared that his team hoped to win the middle-sized boat race in both the men’s and mixed groups. “We didn’t do well last year, but we have been training very hard since then,” Hui said.
Spectators on the promenade and athletes awaiting their turn cheered as the massive boats, which seats 48 people, sprinted forward.
Beijing native Wang Li, explained to her seven-year-old son that the long leaves on boat head acted as the dragon’s beard. “My son went to an international school,” Wang stated. “I brought him here so he could learn about China’s traditional culture. This is very important.”
She said the family had had rice dumplings – the traditional food of the Dragon Boat Festival – for breakfast.
Cheung Ho-sing, who sported sunglasses and a towel around his neck, said he was watching the race at Aberdeen for the first time. “It is much more real than what I saw on TV,” the retired taxi driver said. “The atmosphere is great.”
The contest will last until 4 p.m., with four qualifying teams competing for a golden cup in the final race.