Featuring colorful longboats decorated with dragon heads and tails, paddled to the pounding beat of a traditional drum by eight to 80-person crews (although 20 people is the most common size), dragon boat racing is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. It’s easy to see why — it’s fun to watch and even more fun to be a part of!
This season, Kikkoman will be a participating sponsor at dragon boat races around North America, so be sure to look for us in your hometown, beginning with the kick-off event in Toronto on June 19-20. Come on down and get a taste of dragon boat racing — who knows, you may even be inspired to start paddling yourself! And of course, you’ll get a taste of Kikkoman, too! We’re giving out free food samples featuring some of our favorites from Kikkoman’s pantry of products.
The dragon is one of the most important animals in Chinese mythology, with power over rivers and seas and the ability to control clouds and rainfall. Dragon boat competitions have been part of early summer festivals in China for more than 5,000 years, because it was considered vital to honor the all-powerful dragon at the time of year when rice seedlings were transplanted. Before the race began, the carved dragon on the prow of the boat was “awakened” by having its eyes painted in a religious ceremony, a practice still followed today. Competition between dragon boat teams was fierce, and paddlers who fell from the boats and drowned were regarded as sacrifices to the dragon god.
Here are some quick facts about the races:
Don’t forget to stop by and see us at the Toronto Centre Island, June 19-20! For more information, visit www.dragonboats.com.