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.
Teams getting ready to compete at the Stanley Dragon Boat Festival Races
Crowds cheer the participants at the Stanley Races
Watching the races from one of Aberdeen's traditional sampans...
The fishing village of Tai O celebrates with a grand parade through the stilt homes
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.
When and Where to See the Dragon Boat Races?
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 Mainland 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.
Dragon Boat Festival 2023
In 2023, the Dragon Boat Festival is on June 22, 2023.
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:
Stanley Tuen Ng Festival Races
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?: June 22, 2023 - 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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!
Water Parade in Tai O's Dragon Boat Festival
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
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 22, 2023 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 or call the Tai O Rural Committee at 29857229
Aberdeen Dragon Boat Races
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 22, 2023 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
Cheung Chau Dragon Boat Festival
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 22, 2023 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 Or check out the Living Cheung Chau FB Page for latest news.
Cheung Chau is worth a visit, dragon boats, bun towers or not. Here's more on Cheung Chau and how to get there.
Saikung Dragon Boat Festival
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 22, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. to approx. 1:30 p.m.
Where?: Saikung Town Waterfront.
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.
Sha Tin Dragon Boat Races
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
When?: June 22, 2023 - 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 or check the Sha Tin Sports Association Web Page or Sha Tin Sports Association FB Page
Tai Po Dragon Boat Races
Tai Po Village in the New Territories offers a nice day out enjoying many cultural traditions. You can combine the races with a visit to the Man Mo Temple and the colorful local market.
When?: June 22, 2023 from 8:30 a.m. to approx. 1:00 p.m.
Where?: Promenade at Tai Po Waterfront Park in the New Territories
More Info: Tel. 2664 8661
An Englsih-speaking Cultural Tour to Tai Po and Dragon Boat Races is offered during the Dragon Boat Festival
More Dragon Boat Races, Championships and Tournaments
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 on Thursday, there is another major racing event, the
Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races, which takes place right on Victoria Harbour, and this year will be right on the heels of the Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday and Sunday, it will be a long full 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.
Here's more on the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in Victoria Harbour and other popular
races throughout the year.
And here's the Dragon Boat Racing Calendar for more Hong Kong races throughout the year.
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