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Celebrating the 2024 Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong

A celebration of culture, competition, and culinary delights.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Tuen Ng Festival, is a vibrant and cherished tradition in Hong Kong. This year, it takes place on June 10th, and the festivities promise to be as exciting as ever. Central to the celebration are the thrilling dragon boat races, particularly the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships, returning to Stanley Main Beach with over 150 teams and more than 5,500 paddlers from both Hong Kong and abroad.

The Dragon Boat Festival has deep historical roots, primarily linked to the legendary Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan was a patriotic figure from the Chu State during the Zhou Dynasty who tragically drowned himself in the Miluo River out of despair when his state fell. The local villagers, in an attempt to save his body from fish and evil spirits, paddled out in boats, beating drums and throwing rice dumplings into the river. This act of reverence evolved into the customs of dragon boat racing and eating rice dumplings, or zongzi, that we know today.

Dragon boat racing isn't just a local pastime; it's a sport celebrated worldwide. In Hong Kong, this ancient tradition draws thousands of participants and spectators every year. Teams, comprised of paddlers, a drummer, and a steersperson, race in long, narrow boats designed to resemble dragons. The rhythmic beating of the drum, the synchronised paddling, and the sheer energy of the competition make it a spectacular event.

No Dragon Boat Festival is complete without indulging in zongzi. These sticky rice dumplings are wrapped in bamboo leaves and come with a variety of fillings. Savoury options often include pork belly, salted egg yolks, beans, and conpoy, while sweet versions might be filled with red bean paste or lotus seeds. Whether steamed or boiled, zongzi are typically enjoyed with soy sauce or a sprinkle of sugar.

The 2024 Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong is more than just a public holiday; it's a time for community, culture, and excitement. Whether you're participating in the dragon boat races, sampling delicious zongzi, or trying your hand at balancing an egg, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Embrace the spirit of the festival and experience one of Hong Kong's most beloved traditions.