Ethnic Cultural Festivals: Discussion
Ethnic festivals offer a way to celebrate culture and historical events. New York City is among the most culturally diverse cities in the world. There are over 70 official festivals celebrated in the city annually. One of the events that I plan to attend in the future is the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.
The Dragon Boat Festival is dedicated to the celebration of the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. It also commemorates the death of the popular Chinese poet, Qu Yuan (“The Sad Story of Qu Yuan”n.d). Legend has it that he drowned himself in a river 2200 years ago. It is said that fishermen tried to save his body from being eaten by the fish by beating the water with their paddles. The festival features beating of the water with paddles to commemorate this. The fishermen also threw in rice dumplings in the river so that the fish would eat the rice instead of his body. This is also practiced in the festival. The event is held annually in Mid-August at Flushing Meadows Park.
There are various activities to be enjoyed at the festival, the main one being dragon boat racing. The races occur all over the day. The dragon boats feature around 20 paddlers, an onboard drummer, and a steersperson. Other activities available include martial arts demonstrations, Chinese music, Chinese crafts, and Chinese delicacies at the international food court.
The festival attracts a diverse crowd, which has grown so much beyond the ethnic Chinese community. The number of participating teams has grown to more than 170 teams from various parts of the world. Many more spectators attend to enjoy the music and delicacies. This may be due to the fact that the event is held in summer and so attracts people just wanting to have a good time by the lake. There are also cash prizes for the wines, which may contribute to the attraction of a wide variety of people.
“The Sad Story of Qu Yuan.” ebeijing.gov.cn. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.