Dragon boats sail for 26th year in New York

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - JUDY ZHU / FOR CHINA DAILY

The 26th an­nual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Fes­ti­val thrilled spec­ta­tors on Aug 6 in Flush­ing Mead­ows Corona Park in Queens, New York. It is the old­est, largest and most tra­di­tional dragon boat fes­ti­val in the US, with a record 213 teams par­tic­i­pat­ing this year. Six new 10-per­son boats and sev­eral spe­cial races fea­tured teams of pub­lic of­fi­cials such as Mayor Bill de Bla­sio and Con­gress­woman Grace Meng to the NYPD and FDNY. The fes­ti­val at­tracted a di­verse au­di­ence of more than 50,000 from across North Amer­ica. Cus­tom-made wooden boats glide across the wa­ter in an an­nual Chi­nese rite com­mem­o­rat­ing the third cen­tury BC poet and reformer Qu Yuan, who drowned in protest of the em­peror’s poli­cies. Leg­end has it that lo­cals raced in their boats in an at­tempt to res­cue Qu, beat­ing their drums and splash­ing the wa­ter to pre­vent fish from eat­ing his body.

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