Tuesday, October 12, 2010


(I just realized that this is the 666th entry of this blog. It would have been "spooky" if it happened later on October 31st - Halloween. Or earlier on Friday, August 13th. So what is the significance, TOTA? Nothing! Now you believe me when I wrote that there is a lot of rambling in this silly boring blog of mine.)
While waiting for the Poker Run to start, I walked around the park and took the above photo of two rowing teams passing each other. They must be practicing for the 2011 Dragon Boat Race. Next year, the event is scheduled for Saturday, August 13th. I already signed up to be a volunteer that day.

The information below is from the official website,
"A dragon boat is a long, narrow canoe-style boat that is used in the team paddling sport of dragon boat racing, a tradition which originated in China over two thousand years ago. Dragon boat races are held as part of the annual Duanwu Festival in China, and the tradition has emerged in the past several decades as an international sport. Dragon boats are so-called because they are typically rigged at their ends with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails.

The best-known origin story of dragon boat racing is a folk legend about a Chinese statesman and poet by the name of Qu Yuan (c. 340-278 BC). Qu lived during a time in China's history characterized by a collection of warring states rather than a unified kingdom. A descendant of the royal house in the ancient state of Chu, Qu served as a government minister and, as a champion of political loyalty, was eager to preserve Chu autonomy in the shadow of the increasingly hegemonic Qin state. When the Chu king fell under the influence of other, corrupt ministers and decided to ally with Qin, Qu publicly criticized the alliance; for this, he was charged with treason and banished. During his exile, Qu travelled the countryside, collecting legends and writing poetry (producing some of the greatest poetry in Chinese literature, for which he is also remembered), expressing fervent love for his state and concern for its future. In the year 278 BC, Qu's fears were realized when Qin conquered the Chu capital of Ying. Upon learning of this, Qu is said to have waded into the Miluo River holding a great rock in order to commit ritual suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the day. Folklore has it that the local people, who greatly admired Qu, rushed out on the water in their fishing boats and tried desperately to save him; they beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles in order to keep the fish and evil spirits from his body. Today, people still participate in dragon boat races during the Duanwu Festival to commemorate Qu Yuan."

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