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!
Taking place on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month, normally in May or June in our calendar, this event goes as far back as the 3rd century and is most well-known for its energetic and colorful dragon boat races, where teams of paddlers race the long narrow boats accompanied by the beat of the drum down to the finish line.
According to one popular legend, the Dragon Boat Festival has its origins in the old man Qu Yuan, an official that was so dissilussioned with his country's government that he drowned himself in protest by jumping in the river.
The locals rushed to the site, paddling on their boats and banging drums, gongs and everything they could find to scare away anything that might harm Qu Yuan in hopes to find and rescue him but they were not succesful. They also brought offerings of rice to calm the old man's spirit.
The pilgrimage with the long boats, the drumming and the rice evolved into massive and colorful events and the dragon boat races and competitions that characterize the festival of today.
The Dragon Boat Festival is nowadays celebrated all over the world, for some a very entertaining and exciting festival, and for others, dragon boat racing is a fiercely competitive event.
When and Where to See the Dragon Boat Races?
Dragon Boat Festival Races in Hong Kong in 2014
There are a couple of high profile events in Hong Kong with the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships in Stanley Main Beach on the date of the Festival proper and the Dragon Boat Carnival in Victoria Harbour topping the list.
Best chances to see a dragon boat race are of course on the very day of the Dragon Boat Festival, which as the Dragon Boat Festival in China it also happens to be a National Holiday in Hong Kong.
On this day, the many Dragon Boat Associations of the territory will hold races throughout Hong Kong.
In 2014, the Dragon Boat Festival is on June 2, 2014. These are some of the most popular sites for dragon boat races and are very easy and interesting places for visitors to get to. All events are free to the public:
SunLife Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships
These are some of the largest and most prominent Dragon Boat Races in the world with some 200 local and international teams participating in the action-packed high caliber races which attract a crowd of over 30,000 spectators.
When?: Monday June 2, 2014, 8:00 a.m. - approx. 6:00 p.m.
Where?: Stanley Main Beach
Here's more on Stanley and how to get there.
More Info: Stanley Dragon Boat Association
Check out this short video: