More than 3,000 paddlers from around Australia are taking part in the annual Dragon Boat races at Sydney’s Darling Harbor over the weekend.
Spectators line Cockle Bay Wharf to witness the spectacular 12-meter Dragon Boats battle it out in the 200m race.
The two-day regatta is the biggest Dragon Boat event in the southern hemisphere. The more than 100 races cater to teams from sports clubs, as well as corporate and charity teams.
The Dragon Boat races have been a highlight of the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival for the last 22 years. The event kicks off with an ‘eye-dotting ceremony,’ a Taoist tradition that blesses the waters to ensure a safe weekend of racing. The dragon is ‘awakened’ by dabbing red paint onto the eyes of the figurehead of each boat.
Originating in the rivers of southern China as part of a traditional ceremony to encourage prosperous rains, Dragon Boat racing has evolved into a fast-paced water sport.
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, says the Dragon Boat races are an excellent way for people of all ages to celebrate the Lunar New Year: “It’s wonderful to see this ancient Chinese tradition brought to life in our very own Darling Harbor, where families will line the foreshore to enjoy the thrill of the races. The participants have worked very hard to get there, and serve as an inspiration to others.”
There are over sixty Dragon Boat clubs scattered around the waterways of New South Wales, where Sydney is the state capital. Dragon Boats NSW, the state’s governing body for the sport, has more than 3,200 members.
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily