At the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival held last weekend, August 9 and 10, in Flushing Meadows Park, nearly 200 boats raced down a 500-meter course in hopes of winning cash and prizes for their teams.
Chinese dragon boats have been racing through lakes, rivers and oceans for hundreds of years, as part of a traditional dragon boat festival, also known as the Duanwu.
During the holiday, people eat rice dumplings and race row boats with dragon heads positioned on the bow of the vessel. The festival is celebrated each year on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The annual event takes place in honor of the legendary Chinese poet and minister Qu Yuan (c. 340-278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty.
It is considered to be one of the most important Chinese festivals. Today, it is still celebrated and has spread to cities around the world.
Additional video production work by Amanda Dingyuan Hou.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 13, 2014