- International | English
- Australia | English
- Canada | English
- 中国內地 | 简体中文
- France | Français
- Deutschland | Deutsch
- India | English
- Indonesia | Bahasa Indonesia
- 日本 | 日本語
- 대한민국 | 한국어
- Malaysia | Bahasa Malaysia
- Nederland | Dutch
- New Zealand | English
- Россия | русский
- Southeast Asia | English
- España / América Latina | Español
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival
In Hong Kong, an ancient Chinese festival has become one of the world’s greatest parties – the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival. And every year, boats, beers and cheers draw hundreds of thousands of revellers and spectators to stunning Victoria Harbour.
Thousands of the world’s top dragon boat athletes battle it out in the CCB (Asia) Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races, while spectators and athletes recharge with cold beer and live entertainment at San Miguel BeerFest.
Only Asia’s world city could take an ancient Chinese tradition and transform it into a modern sport and international party. Experience it for yourself at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival!
See photos and video highlights from the 2014 event!
It all started in 1976 when Hong Kong fishermen participated in an international dragon boat race (there was one foreign team – from Japan) off Shau Kei Wan. Nobody would have guessed that this humble event would go on to spark an explosion of worldwide interest in dragon boat racing and transform this ancient Chinese folk ritual into a modern international sport.
In 2014, around 5,000 athletes representing 10 countries and regions competed in the CCB (Asia) Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races. There was some light-hearted fun too, with the Fancy Dress Race.
You are at the waterfront. Drums are beating, muscles are twitching and boats are slicing through the waters of Victoria Harbour to the finish line. Now where will you wind down from all the adrenaline of watching the dragon boat races? BeerFest of course! Right next to all the racing action is a festival where athletes and spectators drink cold beer and enjoy live entertainment.
Sponsored by San Miguel in 2014, the event included some of Asia’s best-loved live performers, a ‘dry land dragon boat challenge’ and a beer drinking competition. Stay tuned for details of what’s lined up for 2015!
The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. You can find the Western calendar date here.
It’s hard to imagine that the vibrancy and fun of today’s colourful festivities has its origins in a tragedy that occurred 2,000 years ago. The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Tuen Ng Festival, commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese national hero. In a protest against corrupt rulers, Qu drowned himself in the Mi Lo River.
To scare away fish from eating his body, the townspeople beat drums and threw glutinous rice dumplings called zongzi into the water. Today, this event is remembered by Chinese people around the world, who eat zongzi and go swimming or at least dip their hands in rivers or lakes.
Dragon Boat Races
The real highlight of the festival is the fierce-looking dragon boats racing in a lively, vibrant spectacle. Teams race the elaborately decorated dragon boats to the beat of heavy drums. The special boats, which measure more than 10 metres, have ornately carved and painted 'dragon' heads and tails, and each carries a crew of 20-22 paddlers. Participants train in earnest for the competition. Sitting two abreast, with a steersman at the back and a drummer at the front, the paddlers race to reach the finishing line, urged on by the pounding drums and the roar of the crowds.
Communities across Hong Kong will celebrate the festival with locally organised dragon boat races. Details of these events will become available closer to the festival date.
- 20 June 2015