The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Tueng Ng Festival, is one of the favourites amongst the revelry of Chinese Festivals celebrated in the territory.
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.
And nowhere more so than in Hong Kong, which attracts hundreds of international teams and hosts a series of events and races throughout the summer months.
There are a couple of high profile events in Hong Kong:
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, 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.
As mentioned above, the Dragon Boat races in Stanley are some of the
most remarkable and attract huge crowds.
In 2016, the Dragon Boat Festival is on Thursday June 9, 2016.
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:
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?: Thursday June 9, 2016, 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
Here's a short video from the Stanley International Dragon Boat Races, enjoy!
Organised by the three local Fishermen Associations, the Tai O Dragon Boat Festival is quite unique.
The setting is marvelous in the middle of the traditional stilt houses, and the celebrations include a water parade in which the temple deities are carried in colorfully decorated sampans pulled naturally by dragon boats!
All along the way, the local residents burn incense and paper offerings to the deities in this most traditional of celebrations.
Following the parade, the dragon boat races are held to "entertain the gods" and the deities are returned to their temples.
When?: June 9, 2016, 8:00 a.m. to approx. 2:00 p.m.
Where?: Tai O waterfront.
Here's more on the Tai O Fishing Village and how to get there.
More Info: www.tai-o.hk/ including parade route.
The charming Aberdeen Fishing Village is a great place for a day out and to enjoy the excitement of the Dragon Boat Races.
When?: June 9, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to approx. 6:00 p.m.
Where?: Aberdeen Promenade/Aberdeen West Typhoon Shelter. Here's more on Aberdeen and how to get there.
More Info: Check out their Facebook page for the latest news Aberdeen Dragon Boat on Facebook
Tiny Cheung Chau island is always teeming with lively traditional festivities, including the wacky Cheung Chau Bun Festival in April/May, and the celebrations for the Dragon Boat Festival are no exception.
When?: June 9, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to approx. 4:00 p.m.
Where?:Cheung Chau Typhoon Shelter.
Getting to Cheung Chau: 40 or 60 minutes with ferries from Central Pier #5 approx. every 30 minutes. The fast ferry is an enclosed cabin, the standard or slow one is a much more scenic way to get there on the outside decks.
More Info: Cheung Chau Dragon Boat Club. Phone: 29814009
Cheung Chau is worth a visit, dragon boats, bun towers or not. Here's more on Cheung Chau and how to get there.
The races are in the morning, in the afternoon there is a festival in town. Saikung is in the New Territories and offers a nice day out to sample some great fresh local seafood.
When?: June 9, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to approx. 2:00 p.m.
Where?: Saikung Town Waterfront.
More Info: www.skdragonboat.org
Sai Kung is a great and lively fishing village worth visiting festival or not with a bustling Promenade and colorful Floating Market. Here's more on Sai Kung and how to get there.
Sponsored by the Sha Tin Sports Association, the race attracts a vast number of participating teams and has become not only a major event in Sha Tin District, but also one of the largest dragon boat races in the territory.
When?: June 9, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to approx. 1:00 p.m.
Where?: Shing Mun River, (starting close to Banyan Bridge and ending close to Sha Yin Bridge) Sha Tin in the New Territories
More Info: Tel. 2691 5657
The Dragon Boat Races and spectacular on-stage shows which in the past have featured the fabulous cheerleading performance by Hong Kong Disneyland take place at Tai Pak Beach.
There is also a carnival at Discovery Bay Plaza, with lots of family entertainment, an open-air market, dragon boat-shaped bounce houses, roaming
performers, game booths and of course carnival food and beer!
When?: June 9, 2016, 8:00 a.m. to approx. 3:30 p.m.
Where?: Tai Pak Beach, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island.
When?: June 9, 2016, 10:30 a.m. to approx. 6:30 p.m.
Where?: Discovery Bay Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island.
How Much?: Game Fees apply, each ticket HK$20
Dragon Boat Racing is a major serious sport in Hong Kong. Chances of catching a race or a training session at the very least, is excellent in the summer months.
If you happen to miss the Dragon Boat Festival, there is another major racing event, the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races, which takes place right on Victoria Harbour, it's a 3-day weekend jam-packed with hot dragon boat action.
There is also a number of races throughout the year, short races, warm up races, etc. that are equally fun to watch specially if you have never experienced this sport.
Thank you for visiting www.hong-kong-traveller.com!
Here is to a wonderful Hong Kong travel experience!
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