In ancient China, the Dragon Boat was at first a religious vehicle to appease the rain gods. Later, Qu Yuan, the great war-time poet, committed suicide in the river Mi Lo, as a protest against the political corruption of the day. To commemorate this sacrifice, the people began to organize Dragon Boat races in his memory, along with observing traditions such as eating Zhong-zi (rice dumplings) over 200 years ago. Now the day is known as the Dragon Boat Festival in China. Dragon Boat racing has also become an integral part of the Chinese culture, representing patriotism and group integrity. (Source: IDBF)
Today - An international sport and recreation
Today, the modern Dragon Boat sport is truly international. There are nearly 50 million participants in China; over 300,000 in the UK and Europe, including Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia; 90,000 in Canada and the USA and many thousands in Australia and New Zealand and now spreading through the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific Basin.