According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Dragon Boat Festival is held on the fifth day of the fifth month, a traditional holiday that is on the UNESCO list of intangible world heritage since 2009. This event is a tribute to the family as the fundamental unit of society and is believed to strengthen ties within families and establish a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature. It additionally encourages the expression of imagination and creativity.
It arose from the belief that the fifth lunar month was very unfortunate, so it was necessary to appease the higher powers and avoid bad luck with this festival. First tales date back to BC and there are several that explain the origin of the festival. One of the most popular in China, where this tradition comes from, is that the festival commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan, who drowned in Milou River. Legend has it that local admirers of his raced in their boats to save him.
Another theory is that the festival was created to honor dragon worshiping tradition in this part of the world. In any case, this festival is held around the world with the purpose of promoting togetherness, cultural differences, team and sports spirit, and not individualism and the efforts of an single entity.
Competition consists of races in standard boats driven by 18 to 20 rowers, or in small boats with 8 to 10 members. In both cases, in addition to the rowers on board, there is a drummer and a helmsman. Boats are splendidly decorated with an emphasis on the dragon’s head and tail, which completes the experience of this unique sports spectacle on the water. Mythical dragons are considered to be the rulers of water on earth (rivers, lakes and seas), as well as the rulers of water in the sky (clouds, fog and rain). During the race, an unavoidable member of the crew is a drummer who simulates the sound of dragon’s heartbeat with his drum beats, and in that way harmonizes the pace of the rowers.
Third EDBF (European Dragon Boat Federation) Euro Cup and the VII International Dragon Boat Festival will be held on Saturday, September 18th, 2021, from 8 am on Ada Ciganlija.
More than 200 competitors and 12 teams will gather on the track of the regatta near the judges’ tower, and in addition to domestic teams, guests from Russia, Moldova, Great Britain, Romania, Cyprus and Republika Srpska are expected to appear.
Contestants will compete in races of small and standard “dragon boats” in three categories: men’s, women’s and mixed, at 200 m and 500 m distances. This will be the third consecutive year when the “pink lady” race will be held in non-competition part of the festival, where breast cancer survivors will row, thus raising awareness and promoting prevention, early detection and the fight against breast cancer.
Use the weekend ahead of us, take a walk through Ada and enjoy this unique festival. Each of us hides a dragon within.