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Dragon Boat Festival Celebrates Asian Culture

Races, Chinese opera, and crafts free on Sunday

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Dragon boats will fill the Charles River this weekend. Photo by Rochelle Reynosa

Dragons are invading the Charles River this weekend.

These dragons, made of teakwood and powered by 18 rowers seated side by side, create a magical flotilla at the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival of Boston. Decorated in brilliant colors, each boat includes a steersperson at the rudder and a drummer, whose beat sets the pace for the crew. The boats will race on the Charles between the Weeks Footbridge and Western Avenue.

Traditionally held on the fifth day of the fifth moon on the lunar calendar, the pan-Asian sporting and cultural event celebrates traditions reaching back nearly 2,300 years. The festival begins at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 13, with races; at noon arts and crafts demonstrations, food, and performances, including Korean taekwon-do, Chinese yo-yo, and Chinese opera, begin on Memorial Drive. The awards ceremony for the winning dragon boats is at 5 p.m.

The Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association will offer workshops, which at past festivals have included making zung-ze (rice steamed in bamboo leaves, peanuts, pork, and Chinese mushrooms) and crafting dough figures, Chinese macramé, creative fans, and Peking opera masks, as well as lessons in paper folding, paper cuttings, and calligraphy.

The annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival of Boston runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 13, on the Charles River between the Weeks Footbridge and Western Avenue. Food, demonstrations, and performances begin at noon along Memorial Drive, Cambridge. Time trials for racing boats is on Saturday, June 12, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., from the MIT Pierce Boathouse, 409 Memorial Dr., Cambridge.

Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @kcornuel.

2 Comments

2 Comments on Dragon Boat Festival Celebrates Asian Culture

  • Anonymous on 06.11.2010 at 8:49 am

    Question

    Are the workshops free? Will the event still go on if it’s bad weather? I think I’ll stop by, it sounds cool!

  • Anonymous on 07.15.2010 at 9:44 am

    Try your hand at dragonboat racing

    Want to get on the river and try your hand at this? The Dragon Boat Club of Boston, now in it’s 8th year or racing, invites men and women to come out for a free practice on our dragonboats practicing out of the docks by the Hatch Shell. Never done it before? Don’t worry, we’re happy to train and will provide all equipment. Just bring a bottle of water, sandals and some sunscreen!

    Practices are Tue & Thur 6pm and Sun 10am for 2 hours.

    Want more info? http://www.dbcb.org

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