Occurring on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, this year’s Macao International Dragon Boat Races took place on 16–18 June at Nam Van Lake. An event that brings together several teams, the races kick off with a mixture of drumbeats and cheering from the vast crowds of supporters. Behind months of team trainings, adrenaline and excitement, lies a deep-rooted story represented by the Dragon Boat Festival.
Today, this festival is commonly associated with the respected Chinese poet and minister, Qu Yuan, who took his own life by drowning in the Miluo River to protest against the corruption that befell the state of Chu during the Warring States period. It is said that all those who admired Qu Yuan raced out on their boats to save him and toss rice into the water so as to stray the hungry fish away from feeding on his body.
Altogether, teams compete in 10 races, divided in to two categories (Open and Women’s) with the final winners determined by three races: the Macau University Student Invitation Standard Dragon Boat Race and the Macau International Invitation Standard Dragon Boat Race (both Open Category) and Macau International Invitation Standard Dragon Boat Race (Women’s Category). China Nanhai Jiujiang team from Guangdong finished strong in first place for the open final long boat 500 metres. Following after was SJM Golden Jubilee in second, Macau in third, Singapore in fourth, Hong Kong in fifth, and Guangdong Junjingwan Group Dabu in sixth.
TEXT Jamie Ha
PHOTOS António Sanmarful