Dragon boat racing, one of the earliest known forms of boat racing, is celebrated at festivals and competitions around the world. Its roots can be traced back over 2,000 years to the southern provinces of China, in a legend that includes warring states, radical politics and fierce loyalty and passion written poetically by one man - Qu Yuan.
A scholar and advisor to the emperor of the Chu Kingdom, Qu Yuan, who was exiled from the land that he loved, committed suicide by jumping into the Miluo River in a final form of protest against corruption of his era. In an attempt to save him, the locals raced out in their fishing boats, beating drums, splashing their paddles and throwing rice dumplings wrapped in silk into the river to distract and keep away the water demons and evil spirits.
Dragon boating evolved from the re-enactment of this legend at annual festivals. Since the mid 1970s, high level competitions have been organized. Today, dragon boat racing is the fastest growing international team water sport, with race festivals held around the world in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.