Ancient people regarded the fifth day of the fifth lunar month as the ‘evil month and evil day’. They believed it was easier to get sick on this day, so some say that the traditional Dragon Boat Festival rituals and customs are actually for driving away bad luck and plagues.
Dragon boats used to be made of wood, but now they’re usually made of fibreglass. With a lighter weight, the modern dragon boat can be paddled faster and won’t gain weight from absorbing water like the wooden boats do. It’s also more cost effective and environmentally friendly.
The competition is split into two categories: the 500 m standard boat races and the 200 m small boat races. A standard boat seats 20 paddlers, while a small boat can accommodate 12 players.
As exciting as it is to watch the dragon boats cross the finish line, the start of the race, especially the first five paddles, is the key. Nothing beats watching the players paddle in unison and accelerate in tandem — a perfect show of team spirit.