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15 July 2015

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Yuanling: Home to Traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Race

2017-04-02 Download Print Comment

Location: Yuanling County, Huaihua, Hunan


Yuanling County was honored as "Birthplace of Traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Race" by Chinese Dragon Boat Association in October, 2002. In May, 2011, Yuanling’s traditional dragon boat race was included in the National-level Intangible Culture Heritage List, praised as the "Biggest Sports Meeting for Modern Farmers".



Dragon Boat race tradition here was earlier than the occurrence of Duanwu.


Long before the commemoration of Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), an ancient patriotic poet in Chinese history, dragon boat race was held in Yuanling in memory of Pan Hu, the ancestor of local Miao minority. It was characterized by numerous racing boats and rowers, large amount of audience, and a long time span.


With many rivers winding through the land, Yuanling boasts a unique geographical advantage to hold numerous dragon boat races. The boat races here came to a natural integration with local customs, religious culture, and Yuan river customs. And it has been passed down from generation to generation.


With a long history of several thousand years, Yuanling dragon boat races have been an indispensable part of the extensive and profound Xiangxi (West Hunan) traditional dragon boat culture with unique features such as "Tou Liao (偷料stealing construction materials)", "Guan Tou (关头setting out)", "Shang Hong (赏红giving red cloth)" "Qiang Hong (抢红vying for red cloth)", "breaking boats(砸船)", "two ideas" and "three major schools".


In the past several years, activities like Huan’s First Mass Dragon Boat Festival, China Traditional Dragon Boat Festival, Paper Dragon Boat Race and Yuanling Traditional Dragon Boat International Invitational Tournament were held successfully here.


When visiting here, you may have chances to enjoy the launching ceremony of traditional Chinese Dragon Boat and the fantastic scene of dragon boat race, and to take a close look at the making of dragon boat.