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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Boston Dragon Boat Festival celebrates Asian culture, traditions

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Jessica Xing
A boating team paddles through the Charles River. Many teams chanted to keep up team spirit and energy.

Spectators and families gathered at the John W. Weeks Footbridge June 9 to watch competitors effortlessly propel bright, decorative dragon boats through the Charles River.

The 45th annual Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival hosted 51 races over the course of the day from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sixty-eight teams from across the greater Boston area split into six divisions, with four teams competing in each race to finish the 500-meter course in the quickest time possible.

Despite heavy rain in the morning and early afternoon, competitors channeled the powerful spirit of the year of the dragon and persevered through the rain-or-shine event.

The rain finally let up around 1:30 p.m. and the day quickly took a turn as sunshine flooded the area, drying off paddlers and bringing more spectators with it.

When not watching the 40-foot-long dragon boats move across the water, attendees enjoyed a variety of performances and demonstrations that showcased different Asian cultures, such as tai chi or taiko drumming. Also on the Cambridge side of the Weeks Footbridge, a multitude of sponsors set up tents with games and giveaways while food trucks and vendors served Asian dishes, drinks and desserts.

On the other half of Memorial Drive, athletes mingled under individual team tents, with many setting up blankets, folding chairs, snacks and drinks to prepare for their long stay.

Known as the oldest dragon boat festival in the country, the event served as a vivid and successful display of one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. While dragon boating has been a Chinese tradition for over 2,000 years, in recent decades, there has been a surge in annual festivals similar to the ones originally held in China. The intricate boats, entertaining cultural displays and high-energy environment have made the tradition the popular celebration it is now, and Boston’s festival was no exception.

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About the Contributor
Jessica Xing
Jessica Xing, Photo Editor
Jessica Xing is a third-year graphic design major with a minor in journalism. She has previously served as deputy photo editor and design editor and is excited to continue working with photographers for The News this semester.