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Sanzao Marine Boat Regatta

Updated: 2018-09-16

Century-old Sanzao Marine Boat Regatta was designated as a city-level intangible cultural heritage item in July 2018.

Sanzao islanders used to offer zongzi (traditional Chinese food made of glutinous rice stuffed with various fillings and wrapped in bamboo, reed leaves, or other large flat leaves) to worship the gods or Qu Yuan, the Warring States patriotic poet, during Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie) 

Meanwhile, a boat regatta, with only 12 members aboard, was held to enliven the atmosphere, which gradually developed into a folk custom as the Marine Boat Regatta with 20 paddlers in Sanzao Town of Doumen District.


Sanzao Marine Dragon Boat Regatta [Photo by Zeng Yao / Zhuhai Daily]

Dragon boat contestants gather to make sacrifices to the sea before they obtain the flag and number of boat, which will lead to a worship ceremony of all boats. They then go back to the village and pick a seedling from a paddy field to place on the boat as an omen of good luck.

What follows is boarding to take positions from prow to stern, with a well-balanced alignment of paddlers in height and weight, and the gong striker and whistler seated in the center. The boats then take their place accordingly in numbered berths, awaiting the opening shot.


Oarsmen work in unison 

When the shot is fired, contestants paddle with all their strength under the unified instruction of the gong striker and whistler.

Varying from traditional knockout dragon boat races, the regatta is a single-round competition with six loops back and forth exceeding 12 km (7.46 miles) in total. The fastest boat is crowned.


No slacking off [Photos courtesy public WeChat ID: gh_449783ce53d3]


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