TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While the official Dragon Boat Festivel (端午節, Duan Wu Jie) falls on May 30 this year, the most exciting dragon boat races are being held at different dates in different locations in Taiwan, allowing tourists and residents an opportunity to experience the holiday festivities in different towns.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of the patriotic poet Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) of the Zhou Dynasty. Qu was a loyal minister but was later slandered by corrupt ministers and exiled by the king. In despair, Qu committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.
It is said that the local people, who admired him, raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body after he died, which becomes the origin of dragon boat races.
While the Dragon Boat Festival can be celebrated anywhere in Taiwan, here is the list of top dragon boat racing spots in northern and southern Taiwan for you to experience:
Keelung Dragon Boat Race
The Northernmost Dragon Boat Race kicks off on May 30 at Badouzi Fishing Port. 40 vacancies are opened for 40 groups of racers. Each team can get a NT$2,500 (US$83) bonus for participation. The team who wins the race will get NT$20,000.
2017 Taipei International Dragon Boat Championships
The Taipei Dragon Boat Championships this year will be held from May 28 to 30 at Dajia Riverside Park under Dazhi Bridge. According to the city’s Department of Sports, this year’s dragon boat race will see the participation of 226 teams from the island and abroad, including Ulan-Ude, Singapore, Haifa, Manila, Shanghai, Nanjing, and other cities. Parents are also welcome to bring children to the festival and make their own Zongzi, the traditional food of the holiday, together during the event.
Participants paddling their boat at the Taipei Dragon Boat Festival (Taipei City Government)
2017 New Taipei City Speaker Cup
New Taipei City's seventh annual dragon boat race kicks off on May 29 at the Breeze Canal this year, attracting not only locals, but also 121 foreign participants from 41 different countries to join the competition. Eric Chu, major of New Taipei City, performed the traditional eye-dotting ceremony on May 12. The final will be held on May 30.
2017 Taoyuan Dragon Boat Carnival
The Taoyuan Government will hold its dragon boat race this year on May 20 and 21 at Zhuwei Fishing Harbor in Dayuan District. It is the first dragon boat festival this year in Taiwan. The organizer provides free shuttle buses between the Taoyuan MRT Shanbi and Kengkou stations to the venue for all the visitors and participants.
Taoyuan City Major Cheng Wen-tsan attends the traditional eye-dotting ceremony for Taoyuan Dragon Boat Carnival (CNA)
Ilan Dragon Boat Festival
This year's dragon boat race in Ilan starts from May 29 to 30 at Donshan Riverside Park. 52 teams are participating in the event, which is expecting the most participants in ten years. The first place team wins NT$50,000.