Lions and Dragons were dancing on the Strand on 4th of June 2016 to celebrate the annual Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. The Chinese community in Townsville joined forces with NQ Phoenix Dragon Boat Club to celebrate this annual event. Delegates from Townsville’s sister cities in China attended the celebrations. There were traditional dumplings and sticky rice dumplings for sale to enjoy while people were watching the Lions and Dragons strutting their stuff as well as free paddling on a dragon boat for those wanting to have a go. It was a great event with lots of fun.
President of the Townsville Chinese Club, Dr Wendy Li explained that the Dragon Boat Festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar and commemorates the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan from the Zhou Dynasty. Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River when his country was defeated. The local people raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body. Dr Li said this is thought to have been the origin of dragon boat races. “When his body could not be found, the local people dropped sticky rice dumplings into the river so that the fish would eat the sticky rice dumplings instead of his body, this is said to be the origin of Zongzi (sticky rice dumpling), she said.