Asia’s World City Hong Kong kick starts the International Dragon Boat Festival

Updated: Jul 13, 2012, 12:42 PM IST

Hong Kong/ Mumbai: It’s that time of the year when cheers and beers is all what you will hear and see at the Asia’s World City Hong Kong at the International Dragon Boat Festival in July 2012. This year over 6,000 of the World’s Best Dragon Boats and Athletes will converge at Hong Kong for the famous International Dragon Boat Race. 3,000 athletes from 12 countries will participate in the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races to the beat of drums and the roar of the crowds; battling it out in the waters of Victoria Harbour with the stunning city skyline in the backdrop.

This ancient event is also known as Tuen Ng Festival. It is celebrated to memorialize the death of a popular Chinese national hero Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the Mi Lo River over 2,000 years ago to protest against the corrupt rulers. Legend has it that as towns people attempted to rescue Qu Yuan; they beat drums to scare fish away and threw dumplings into the sea to keep the fish from eating his body. Today, festival activities recall this legendary event. People eat rice-and-meat dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves; and many look forward to swimming or even simply dipping their hands in the water.

The real highlight of the International Dragon Boat Festival is the fierce-looking Dragon Boats racing in a lively, vibrant spectacle. Teams race the elaborately decorated dragon boats to the beat of heavy drums. The special boats which measure more than 10 meters have been ornately carved and painted ‘DRAGON’ head and tail, and each carries a crew of 20-22 paddlers. This year, all races in the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Race are Standard Boat Races of over 500m. This legendary event is sure to take your breath away.

What’s new this year is the party sponsored by San Miguel — one of Hong Kong’s favorite beer. Imagine yourself at the waterfront with the drums beating, muscles twitching and boats slicing through the waters of Victoria Harbour to the finish line. A carnival where dragon boat athletes and spectators mingle, share a beer or two and shake a leg to live music by some of the best loved bands and singers in the region. Stay on to meet new friends and dance the day away. Come and belt down few beers in the ‘San Miguel Beer Drinking Competition’ along with the ‘Live Band Show’ by Some of Asia’s popular bands.