Pattaya has been holding their annual Long Boat or Dragon Boat racing for over fifteen years at Lake Mabprachan in East Pattaya. Starting in 2000 the fun event is now growing into a popular competitive event which attracts more and more spectators each year.
Usually held sometime in November the racing starts at 9am in the morning and lasts all day to around 6pm. There are many boats that can be seen on the large reservoir and plenty of food stalls and family entertainment both in and out of the water.
The Dragon Boat racing is organised by the destination management company, Sail in Asia. The racing includes corporate teams and international and Thai schools and universities. The aim of this event in Pattaya is to promote the ancient skill of Dragon Boat racing to the youth and companies of Asia.
Myths of Dragon Boat Racing
Dragon Boat Racing supposedly dates back over two thousand years ago in China, as a fertility rite for the growing crops. The race was twofold, to ward of bad luck and to encourage enough rainfall to help the crops grow.
The Chinese zodiac deity the Dragon is also the symbol of water. The dragon is said to rule over clouds and rains as well as seas and rivers.
As the years went by another story became a part of the racing, that a well loved Chinese poet and patriot jumped into the Mi Lo river in attempt to commit suicide, but the local people who loved him so much raced out in fishing boats to rescue him banging on drums and splashing the water with their oars to ward off the dragons from his body.
Today’s modern Dragon Boat racing is based on this story and is a re-enactment of the race to save the poet. And as years passed, village fishing boats made a symbolistic venture on the water that developed into racing.
Modern Dragon Boat Racing
Today Dragon Boat racing is one of the fastest-growing water sports across the globe. In 1976 the first world championships took place in Hong Kong but since then New Zealand, Canada, America, England and Australia have hosted this prestigious event.
Then in 1991 the current IDBF (International Dragon Boat Federation) was formed in response to great demand from all over the world. Today there are over forty countries that are part of the Federation and one hundred members.
The IDBF oversees the rules and regulations and ensures that the boats and equipment is standard across the board.
The true Dragon Boat should be long and slim that have been used in competitive and spiritual events in China for over 5,000 years. The modern boat has a crew of twenty oarsmen, a drummer and a steersman.