10th Cross-Strait Dragon Boat Cultural Festival held in Xiamen's Jimei

Update:19 May 2014
Four teams were racing at the tenth annual Cross-Strait Dragon Boat Cultural Festival on May 17, 2014, in Jimei District, Xiamen. [Photo: dfic]
The tenth annual Cross-Strait Dragon Boat Cultural Festival kicked off this morning in Jimei District, Xiamen, with the annual highlight-the dragon boat race-attracting thousands of local residents.
According to organizers, 66 teams attended the event including 22 teams from Taiwan, 3 teams from Hong Kong and 1 team from Macau.
New rules and a new race format were introduced this year. The previous 500m straight and 3,000m circular race have been replaced with two straight courses, measuring 200m and 500m. In addition to these shorter races, a new form of dragon boat racing tug-of-war has been included within the festivities, the first event of its kind in China.
The tug-of-war event will take place on the afternoon of May 18. During the event, the two race boats will be tied together by a long stretch of rope. Each crew will have 23 oarsmen and will compete against the other crew by rowing in the opposite direction.
A variety of other traditional and cross-cultural activities will be take place during the festival, including a reading party, local opera performances, and a dragon dance.
The Dragon Boat Race tradition in Jimei was established by Mr. Tan Kah-Kee, a Jimei-born Chinese philanthropist and celebrated leader of overseas Chinese businessmen. He personally planned and organized the dragon boat races in the 1950s, aiming to promote and carry on the unity and collaborative spirit of dragon boat racing.

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