With summer in full swing, it is time to prepare for this year’s Dragon Boat Races. Called Duan Wu Jie in Chinese, the Dragon Boat Festival is normally held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Historically, this festival marked the beginning of summer and was celebrated to honor the gods in hopes of a good season. This year, the festival falls on June 23rd. While Hong Kong is said to be the best place to go to take part in the festivities, each major coastal city on the mainland holds its own colorful and exciting races that are sure to delight any visitor to China.
Xiamen, in Fujian Province, is arguably the best place on the mainland to take part in the Dragon Boat Festival. In the hilly coastal city’s Jimei District, crowds gather to cheer on the contestants in the Xiamen International Dragon Boat Race. Traditionally, small rice packets are thrown into the water during the races to appease the water gods and to ensure favorable weather for the summer season.