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Dragon Boat Carnival bemuses HKers under blistering heat

The annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival happened across Victoria Harbour last Friday to Sunday, where athletes across the city gathered to compete under blistering summer heat.

The event drew the participation of up to 4,000 athletes from more than 140 dragon boat associations in Hong Kong and abroad.

An opening ceremony, led by chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board Lam Kin-ngok, was held in Tsim Sha Tsui on Friday afternoon. The races then started across Victoria Harbour with resounding cheers.

opening ceremony dragon boat carnival

Opening ceremony of the Dragon Boat Carnival. Photo: Apple Daily

opening ceremony dragon boat carnival

Opening ceremony of the Dragon Boat Carnival. Photo: Apple Daily

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Athletes and spectators embraced the summer heat with refreshing beer.

The history of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival dates back to 1976, when the city first organised its Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races.

Dragon Boat events are held in celebration of the Tuen Ng Festival, a traditional Chinese festival observed on May 5 in the Chinese calendar. The festival is held in memory of Qu Yuan, one of the most famous poets in ancient China. He was a well respected official of the Chu state in ancient China. He committed suicide by jumping into a river after he was exiled by the emperor.

Qu Yuan

A portrait of Qu Yuan. Photo: WikiMedia

Legend has it that ancient Chinese people threw dumplings and eggs into the river because they believed sea creatures would not consume his body if they had eaten enough. Some suggested that the dragon boat race may have become a tradition after citizens rowed their boats to rescue Qu.

Dragon Boat Carnival bemuses HKers under blistering heat