Dragon Boat Festival Celebrated in Britain, Turkey
    2014-06-03 09:42:37     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Luo Dan


 

Apart from China, these dragon boat races, as a signature celebration for the festival, have also been held in other parts of the world.

CRI's Alexander Aucott has more.

Hundreds of paddlers have taken to the water in the UK city of Salford to compete in dragon boat races as part of a colorful celebration to mark the festival.

Twenty-seven teams, each made up of 10 paddlers, a drummer and a steersman, have taken part in this year's event.

For the first time, a team from the Liverpool Football Club Everton also joins the game.

Team leader Joe Rowa says though they are not trained for this professionally, they enjoy it a lot.

"We are barely prepared for this to be honest we just come for fun. We come to win of course; the second place is not an option. We will see how we do and next year we might come back as professionals."

The Salford event was first held three years ago and has grown into one of the largest dragon boat races in Europe.

City Mayor Ian Stewart says the competition serves as a valuable platform for cultural exchanges among the two countries.

"It is really important that we in Salford, the Great Manchester and the northwestern of the UK know and understand about such an important country as China, but more importantly, about the Chinese people. It is really important that we realize that we can learn so much from each other, whilst we have different cultures and different histories, we should celebrate that difference, that distinction of each of the different cultures, and we should bond our friendship and partnership, for the interests of both our peoples. "

In the United States, dragon boat racers from around the world are in Tennessee for their annual competition.

Thirty teams took part in the race, cheered on by spectators dressed in colorful costumes and sporting animal-themed headgear.

Before the racing began, organizers gave a speech commemorating Qu Yuan, the ancient Chinese poet whose death is believed to be the origin of the festival on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

Event organizer Penny Behling gave her speech at the event.

"Qu Yuan composed some of China's greatest poetry expressing his fervent love and loyalty for his country."

Behling says dragon boat racing has grown rapidly since it was first introduced to the United States in the 1980s.

" It gained momentum pretty quickly over in the west coast, in San Diego and in San Francisco, and we have just gone from probably about five or six races in probably the mid 90s to about 2000, to now over 100 festivals in the US, so it has grown tremendously."

Meanwhile, dragon boat races are also being held in Istanbul, Turkey.

This is the seventh time Turkey has held such events.

Emre Mutlu is in charge of the organizing committee.

He says although dragon boat events originated in China thousands of years ago, they are becoming increasing popular among Turkish people.

"Only 30 teams took part in the race in the year 2008. But this year more than 600 teams have signed up. The teams have also brought their bands and dance teams. Turkish people enjoy it every much. Happy Duanwu Festival!"

For CRI, this is Alexander Aucott.

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