PHOTOS: Chinese Tradition, Competition On Display At Dragon Boat Festival

Sep 19, 2016

The Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary was the site of the third annual Triangle Area Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday September 17, 2016.

The event was organized by Asian Focus, an area nonprofit that supports programs to help Asian American and immigrants of all generations. 

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Dragon boat racing has ancient roots in China and is believed to have originated more than 2,500 years ago on the rivers in south central China’s valleys.

In Chinese culture, the sun, like the dragon, represents masculine energy, while the moon, like the phoenix, represents feminine energy. The festivals are typically held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, though dates can vary by location.

Each boat consisted of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steers person paddling to be the first to cross the finish line. Events are held in dozens of countries across the world.

Note: This photo gallery is the first installment in a collaboration with students and faculty at the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Team 1 tries to catch up with the leading Team 2 during the 2016 Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, September 17, 2016 in Cary, NC. A typical Dragon Boat crew is made up of the drummer in the front, the steersman at the back and the paddlers in the middle.
Credit Lexie Ma Xiaochi / WUNC

Participants in the 2016 Dragon Boat race at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary on Saturday, September 17, 2016. The sport requires much upper-body strength and teamwork as in rowing.
Credit Lexie Ma Xiaochi / WUNC

Dads lifting their kids up to help them gain a vantage point to watch the race. The scorching heat did not stop families from joining in this weekend carnival and all a kid needs to enjoy himself/herself is a popsicle.
Credit Lexie Ma Xiaochi / WUNC

A couple trying on traditional Chinese costumes dating back to the Qing Dynasty. The gentleman's costume in yellow with dragon embroidery was specifically worn by emperors, and the lady's headdress symbolized her royal status from the Manchurian ruling class.
Credit Lexie Ma Xiaochi / WUNC

The martial arts performance by a local Vietnamese martial arts group during the annual Dragon Boat Festival at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC on September 17, 2016. Chinese broadswords were one of the often used weapons in Kung Fu.
Credit Lexie Ma Xiaochi / WUNC

The traditional Chinese character "long" which means "dragon" at a lantern calligraphy booth at the 2016 Dragon Boat Festival at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre In Cary, NC. Chinese people consider themselves as the descendants of the dragon and the design of dragon boats draws inspiration from this traditional Chinese totem.
Credit Lexie Ma Xiaochi / WUNC