With summer around the corner, many people will spend their occasional short breaks away from work, looking for the stress-relieving activities. This July, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Dragon Boat Association will be hosting the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival in East Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Over 100 world’s top Dragon Boat teams from Hong Kong and more than 20 countries will be battling in this three-day bash. What attracts this many people to come participate in this event? What has made this Hong Kong Dragon Boat such a large international race event?
The key is their history and “funtivities”. This Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong was the first place to hold the Modern International Dragon Boat races. Since then, this sport event has been seeing as a large international event all over the world. This summer, the global peddlers will gather in the birth place of the modern Dragon Boat racing once again. Every paddler who participates in this race are very serious about their races and take this activity as a modern sport. Many do not just practice rowing in the water of their own districts, but also take part in physical fitness training such as running and weightlifting.
This major festival is also the perfect place for entertainment in Hong Kong. With paddling teams dressed up in creative costumes, it will feature the San Miguel Beer Garden with food vendors, live entertainment and beer contests.
This Labor Day weekend, Lansing will also be hosting Capital City Dragon Boat Races 2012 at the Adado Riverfront Park in Downtown Lansing. Participants and spectators will enjoy a fun filled day of dragon boat racing and entertaining cultural activities such as the Awakening the Dragon Ceremony, Panda Playland and Family-Friendly activities, “Funtivities”! PLEASE get your team and register! Go Teams!
Follow @LansingDragons on Twitter and check our Facebook page! For more information, visit us at http://capitalcitydragonboat.com/
YouTube Video of Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilCTwmpSfWQ
Marla Baker, a present captain and warehouse volunteer of DragonSports USA, was profiled in the article, “Dragon Boat racing offers social, physical benefits” by the Daily Journal of Commerce’s Reed Jackson on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Baker currently captains three times a week and has raced boats for nine years. Being on the bow of a 700-pound boat enables her to forget about any life challenges, such as raising her 10 grandchildren and running her boat repair company by herself.
“It’s a release for everything. This is definitely my out in life,” says Baker, “It’ll make you a happier person – on the jobsite as well as in life.” She is a successful former owner – known as the “hood lady” – of a stainless steel company that furnished kitchen restaurants across the country. Baker mentions that many racers are either architects or contractors. In fact, her husband, Chuck Baker is also an electrician. With their previous job experience, they have become proficient boat builders.
Darrell Hames, the owner of DragonSports, also believes that people who work in the field of architecture and construction have exceptional interest in the competitive sports like Dragon Boat racing.
Hames mentions, “It’s a sport where you have to have the ability to take time off and go to the races, and you have to be able to afford it.” This is the reason why DragonSports tend to get more racers that possess the individual professional aspects or are the business owners.
Dragon Boat racers are serious about making connections and competitive sports. Dragon Boat racing attracts people as a great opportunity for social networking. Baker states that the real draw to racing is that regardless of age, size or past, someone can make 24 new friends almost immediately. It does not only offer social benefits, but also physical benefits. Baker continues that this is one of the healthiest things you can do because paddling helps prevents injuries on the job site.
The 2012 Capital City Dragon Boat race is rapidly approaching, but before setting sail, all Dragon Boat Races must ‘Awaken’ their dragons. The ceremony isn’t your typical ceremony in the sense that it is quiet and calm. The dragon’s eyes must be opened and all evil warded off!
The Awakening the Dragon cermeony for CCDBR will take place at dusk, Saturday, September 1, 2012. Spectators for the ceremony will be the first to see the boats, painted in immaculate detail. The ceremony, in respect to Chinese custom, will open the dragon’s eyes, ward off evil spirits and prepare the Grand River for competition. The ceremony not only blesses and cleanses the area for competition, but also the spectators and competitors.
According to Shelagh Pierce, dragon boat racing came at a time when “A time when superstition determined how a person lived. In fact, dragon boat racing began more than 2000 years ago when a group of superstitious people believed that the boat racing would ensure prosperous and bountiful crops.” The awakening ceremony was originally created to cleanse, but also to honor the death of Ch’u Yuan a Ch’u statesmen. When his advice to the king of Ch’u was rejected and he was exiled, his sorrows lead him to throw his body in the Mi Lo River. The people of the kingdom who loved Ch’u Yuan would float in the river around his body, beating drums and splashing their oars to keep fish and water dragons from him.
Dragon boat racing made its way into Chinese tradition with some extreme rituals, such as drowning a person in sacrifice or capsizing a boat. Thankfully, many of these rituals have been removed over the years and the ceremony has evolved into something entertaining. Though much has changed in the years since Ch’u Yuan’s death in 4 B.C, the CCDBR will honor the custom in their own style at dusk the night before the races.
Those attending the Michigan Mosaic Music Festival can walk across the bridge to the ceremony and enjoy the festivities. Racing will commence the following morning, Sunday, September 2, at 8 AM until the bracket has been completed.
Our mission for the Dragon Boat race is simple: to revitalize the Grand River, Adado Riverfront Park and the River Trail.
The River Trail, Adado Riverfront Park and Grand River play host to thousands of people looking for outdoor activities in Lansing, each summer. These are sites where families spend quality time together, friends catch up on their busy lives and lifelong healthy habits are formed. It is imperative that we invest in these community attractions. Dragon boat racing gives us the perfect platform to attract more visitors and raise money for revitalization projects.
The dragon boat committee formed a partnership with Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council (an action-based environmental organization) to ensure that all proceeds from the 2011 race are used to create environmentally sound projects that will enhance Lansing’s waterfront. A few positive changes have already started to materialize at East Adado Park, the area around the boat docks will being cleared out and additional docks will be constructed.
We are thrilled to bring the fastest growing water sport in the world to Lansing. We hope that this event will spark a new interest in Lansing’s waterfront.