Common Facts You Need to Know About Dragon Boat Races

Before you attend a dragon boat race, you should know a few things about the sport. This Chinese tradition is celebrated during Dragon Boat Festival, a public holiday. Dragon boats are difficult to control, but the team behind each boat must be skilled to win. You should also know that the race is in the middle of the river. If you are new to dragon boat racing, learn more about these common facts.

Public Holiday

In China, the Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional public holiday that falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, which corresponds to late May or early June on the Gregorian calendar. For many Chinese people, Dragon Boat Festival is one of their most memorable cultural experiences. Here are some fun facts about the festival. Keep reading if you’re wondering where to go and discover more here on what to do on Dragon Boat Day!

The festival dates back to ancient times. The festival first started as a way to celebrate the winter wheat harvest. In ancient Wu, people made offerings to deities and spirits during the winter wheat harvest, and in ancient Korea, people made offerings to the mountain and river gods. The festival grew and merged with other festivals as interactions between the different regions took place over time. In 2004, the festival was elevated to a national holiday.

Traditional Chinese Event

Dragon Boat Races are held across China during the fifth lunar month. This event is celebrated to honor the dragon god, Qu Yuan. In mainland China, dragon boat races are held in informal settings in towns with close water relationships. Most villagers own boats and row them out to the river to watch the races. The racers’ distances can vary from 100 meters to over two thousand meters or 328 to 6,562 feet.

The story behind the festival goes back to the third century. Legend has it that the first dragons appeared in China during the Warring States Period. This explains the mythical origins of the event. The festival was first regarded as a medical festival, as the onset of early summer spells disease and the arrival of evil spirits. However, in recent years, the festival has become a celebration of health and medicine.

Team Sport

While Dragon Boat Races are a team sport, they are also a unique form of exercise. While it may seem like an individual sport, the athletes work as a unit to accomplish each task. Teams usually consist of 20 to 50 paddlers. The winning team is the one whose dragon nose touches the finish line. Both men and women are allowed to participate. Here are a few fun facts about dragon boats.

The team is comprised of two paddlers and a boat captain. Each person has a role in paddling the boat, so each member has to make multiple strokes to make the boat go forward. Each stroke can take anywhere from sixty to eighty seconds, depending on the distance covered. In dragon boat races, the team members paddle at 60 to 85 strokes per minute, depending on the length of the race.


Adaptive Adventures dragon boat teammates participate in many sports, including cycling, rock climbing, kayaking, and sailing. In addition to their roles on the team, many engage in additional volunteer or mentor leadership roles. The team is made up of both men and women and has a diverse demographic. Despite their varied backgrounds and physical challenges, these teammates are motivated to reach their goals through sport. Dragon Boat races are challenging, but the team atmosphere and camaraderie make them a rewarding experience.

Because dragon boats are heavy on the left and right side, the steersperson must lean against the more serious side to maintain balance. As a result, the best way to give yourself a solid start is to give the drummer a signal before entering the boat. If you do capsize, don’t panic. Instead, look for a buddy and wait for a rescue boat. This sport requires a high level of mental and physical toughness.

Sign of Good Luck

A dragon boat race can bring you luck. Chinese tradition believes that the dragon boat is a sign of good luck. In addition to a traditional dragon boat, the races often involve beer-chugging action. Dragon boats also use realgar wine, which is a mineral that is rich in arsenic. This mineral is thought to protect against evil spirits, diseases, and mosquitoes. The dragon boat races are one of the only public holidays in Hong Kong. Despite its Chinese roots, dragon boat racing is an internationally recognized sport with paddlers in more than 50 countries. There are about 50 million dragon boat paddlers worldwide.

While the myth surrounding the dragon is questionable, it does have some religious value. In Chinese culture, dragons are considered to be very powerful. They are also viewed as symbols of growth and spring. The dragon boat races are believed to spread good fortune and prosperity to the communities that hold them. In addition to being a good sign of luck, the races commemorate an important figure in Chinese history.

Beer and Alcohol

There’s no doubt that beer and alcohol are involved in Dragon Boat Races. That’s part of the charm. The event is a unique way to enjoy water sports while supporting a local charity. And since Chinese immigrants traditionally build dragon boats, the competition is also fun and festive. Beer and alcohol are a staple of the event, which has become an iconic part of the Richmond, Ontario, community.

While a few dragon boats are entirely alcohol-free, many aren’t. Dragon Boat Races involve beer-chugging action. But why? Several centuries ago, the Chinese used beer to treat the disease of dragons. The alcohol in the beer is realgar, a mineral containing arsenic sulfide. Realgar also helps protect the sailors from illness and evil spirits. Dragon Boat Races involve beer and alcohol.

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