In 278 BC, Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet and a loyal official of the state of Chu during the Warring States Period, advised the King to ally with the State of Qi to fight against the most powerful State of Qin. The King dismissed and exiled Qu Yuan. During his exile, the Qin State conquered the capital of Chu. On hearing of the defeat, Qu Yuan in great despair committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of enduring poems showing his love and passion for his country, some of which are still very famous in China. When the local people heard of Qu Yuan’s death, they were very sad and paddled out on the river to search for his body, but were unable to find him. To preserve his body, the locals hit the water with their paddles and beat drums to scare evil spirits away. They threw lumps of rice into the river to feed the fish, so that they would not eat Qu Yuan’s body. The rest is legend….to this day people in the Miluo River area continue to commemorate Qu Yuan on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Dragon boat racing and sticky rice dumplings are now traditional parts of this festival.
Today, in the U.S., 20 dragon boat racers paddle together on one 40 foot long canoe with a drummer at the front and steersperson on the back and convene to race in places like Olympia, Tacoma, Kent and Seattle. Through dragon boat paddling, paddlers naturally learn self-discipline, focus and synchronicity. Critical life lessons such as having a good attitude, being open minded, being willing to learn, leadership and teamwork are main topics that Paddlepult passes along to our paddlers. These life lessons are why Paddlepult feels that this sport is so great for youth.
If you are currently in high school or college and have an interest in learning more about dragon boat racing, please sign up here. We are currently signing up paddlers for a youth event in September 2016. You will be notified when more details of this event come together.
Thank you and Paddles up~!