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Fancy a dragon on the Lagan?

By Staff Reporter

THE Chinese Welfare Association (CWA) is organising the annual Chinese Dragon Boat Festival 2012 and this year we will highlight the features of the River Lagan and the new Titanic Quarter development on Sunday, 24th June, 2012, at Belfast Boat Club, near Cutter’s Wharf, Stranmillis,  Belfast.

The year started with Chinese New Year in Ulster Hall bringing in over 3,000 people and this event will be the second of three of the Chinese calendar events.  Later in the mid-autumn 2012, the Moon Festival will be in a main park.

Amongst this year’s Dragonboat competing teams, th PSNI will race against a Polish team and Queen’s University.  Over eight teams have entered to date and the competition is fierce to see who is the winner of the Chinese Dragonboat Festival 2012.

The winning team will be announced globally as Chinese Welfare Association works in close partnership with Hong Kong Economic and Trade who are the main sponsors of professional racers across the world that all race around the date of the Chinese Dragonboat Festival.

This year the Dragonboat Festival event is supported by the Department for Social Development, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Hong Kong Economic and Trade and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Eileen Chan-Hu, Chief Executive of the Chinese Welfare Association, commented: “It places the Laganside area on the map in Northern  Ireland, as a suitable venue for Dragonboating.  Over 400 people attended last year and many people attended who are not familiar with the facilities of the river.  This year we aim to reach over 600 people as we have secured a CWA Dragonboat from Sports for All that will be participating this year. We look forward to our boat being shared amongst all communities to compete in developing good sportsmanship and build lasting relationships through this Chinese cultural event.”

The Dragon Boat festival is a symbol of Chinese culture and spirit with a history tracing more than 2,000 years and today takes place all over the world where Chinese communities have settled. We are proud to celebrate this festival in Belfast (twin city of Heifei province in China) with a series of Dragonboat races down the River Lagan.  Hefei Council visited us this Chinese New Year so we hope they will be able to come from China in support.

The festival will take place on Sunday, 24th June, 2012

Venue: Belfast Boat Club, near Cutter’s Wharf, Stranmillis BELFAST

¬ Chinese Dragon Dance kicks off Festival at 10.30am

¬ Dragonboat races

¬ Fun for all the family and kids

¬ Chinese stalls and workshops

¬ Chinese and Ethnic foods

¬Dragon and Lion dance and Martial Arts demonstrations.

The Dragonboat festival dates back to ancient times and occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Originally a religious practice, it is now purely recreational. The Dragonboat festival celebrates the death of the poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the 3rd Century BC as a protest against a corrupt government. The legend is that the townspeople attempted to rescue him by beating drums to scare fish away from eating his body and threw rice dumplings into the river to tempt the fish away from their hero.

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