Dragon Boat Race Festival begins in Pokhara

By Rup Narayan Dhakal : Pokhara—The Nepal-China Friendship Dragon Boat Race Festival 2023 has begun in Pokhara. Nepal Tourism Board, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nepal, and Pokhara Metropolitan City have joined hands to organize the two-day long festival on the banks of Fewa Lake.

The Pokhara Tourism Council and the Overseas Chinese Association of Pokhara co-organized-festival was jointly inaugurated by Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Chen Song and Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Minister Sudan Kirati at Camping Chowk.

The festival includes a Dragon Boat Race competition that is taken part by eight teams. A total of eight boats were brought from China and these boats will be handed over to Pokhara Metropolitan City following the festival. The players will compete in 200 meters and 500 meters segments and receive cash prizes, medals, trophies, and certificates.

The Dragon Boat Race has been held in more than 50 countries and regions and has entered the Asian Games. Ambassador Song, minister Kirati, NTB CEO Dhananjay Regmi, Pokhara Metropolitan City Mayor Dhan Raj Acharya, and Pokhara Tourism Council Chairman Pom Narayan Shrestha put their views during the formal opening ceremony.

Dragon Boat Festival and Its Legend

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as “Duanwu Jie” in Chinese, is one of the four important traditional festivals in China. It observes on the fifth day of the fifth month by the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls on 22nd June in 2023.

The legend behind the Dragon Boat Festival is associated with Qu Yuan (340- DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL 278 BC), a loyal state minister and patriotic poet who lived in the kingdom of Chu during the Warring States period (475-221 BC).

Qu Yuan was deeply concerned about the political corruption and internal strife that plagued his country. As his warnings went unheeded, he composed powerful poems expressing his love and sorrow for his country. ‘When he realized his beloved country was beyond recovery and he could no longer save it, Qu Yuan committed suicide in despair by drowning himself in the Miluo River, which is located in today’s Hunan Province.

The local people, who admired Qu Yuan and were devastated by his death, rushed out in boats to search for his body. To prevent fish and evil spirits from devouring Qu Yuan’s body, people beat drums and splashed the water with paddles to scare them away, and also threw sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, known as “Zongzi” into the river. These practices eventually evolved into the tradition of the Dragon Boat Race and the consumption of “Zongzi” during the Dragon Boat Festival nowadays.

Dragon Boat Race

Dragon Boat Race involves teams of rowers paddling in long, narrow boats shaped like dragons. The races are usually held in rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, with participants striving to paddle their boats to the finish line in the shortest possible time. It promotes teamwork and physical fitness, Dragon Boat Race has gained popularity in China and is now enjoyed by people in many countries around the world. The Dragon Boat Race has been a cultural exchange and community engagement.


It is a type of sticky rice dumpling that is typically wrapped in bamboo leave and filled with various ingredients. The preparation of Zongzi varies in different regions of China, but the basic process involves soaking glutinous rice overnight and then filling it with fresh meats, beans, nuts, or preserve fruits. The filled rice is wrapped tight in bamboo leaves, forming a pyramid or triangular shape, and then boiled and steamed until cooked. The fillings can vary widely depending on regional preferences and a person’s taste.

Chinese people are celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival for more than 20 years. This great enthusiasm comes from people’s admiration of Qu Yua’s patriotism and his contributions to Chinese literature. The festival is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009.

Published on: June 23, 2023 12:20 pm

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