BTRtoday visited Flushing Meadow’s Park yesterday for the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race, a tradition that is based on the legend of the ancient patriot-poet Qu Yuan who advocated reforms for his home state of Chu and was subsequently banished him from the state by the King.
In exile, he wandered the country writing poetry expressing his concerns for his homeland and its people. In 278 BC when Qu Yuan heard that his home had been invaded, he jumped into the Ni Lo River and drowned himself.
Legend has it that local fishermen raced out to the river to save him, but couldn’t. To prevent his body from being eaten by the fish, they threw rice dumplings into the water as an offering to his heroic spirit. This was the beginning of Dragon Boat Racing.
Yesterday’s festival was a celebration of the poet’s story as well as the broader Asian culture with musical performances, storytelling and games.