If you are interested in Colorado cultural events, Dragon Boat Racing may be worth a look! The sport is an important part of ancient Asian culture and history, and is beginning to catch on in the United States, as well as other places around the world. Now, competitions and corresponding Asian cultural events and festivals are held around the globe.
This particular sport has been around for about 2,000 years and has been an important piece of Asian cultural heritage. The story goes that Chu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet, warrior, and Emperor’s aid, was the unfortunate victim of plots and deception, thus falling out of favor with the Chinese Court. Following the Emperor’s death later on, Yuan was banished, and began writing to attempt to win back the Court’s affections.
Eventually, Yuan gave up and took his own life by jumping into the Mi Lo River. To frighten fish away from his body, his supporters raced in fishing boats to the site of his body, and stood by the river bank and beat paddles on the water while others banged drums and gongs. Today, athletes are still commemorating Yuan with events all over the world.
Now an international competitive event, Dragon Boat Racing has become more popular than ever. At Colorado’s Dragon Boat Festival, they have seen the event grow from 16 teams in the first year to 50 teams this past year.
Colorado cultural events such as this one are heavy with Asian customs, including the “Awakening the Dragon Ceremony,” a ritual in which Buddhist monks chant in haunting rhythm and guests dot the eyes of the boats. A 75-foot dragon also “comes to life” in a Dragon Dance. The ritual is a part of the opening ceremonies to bless the competitors.
Spectators drawn to Colorado cultural events will love the dynamic festival and competition, as well as getting to learn about Asian culture. In the Asian-American population, there are six groups making up 83% of the total, according to the Pew Research Center: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese.
Along with those six groups, there are seven major dialects within the Chinese language, including Mandarin (71.5%), Wu (8.5%), Yue or Cantonese (5%), Xiang (4.8%), Min (4.1%), Hakka (3.7%), and Gan (2.4%). Each of those dialects also has variations within it.
Another major festival in this culture is the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival. As the largest festival, it is the start of the Lunar New Year. Falling between mid-January to mid-February, it is a 15 day celebration to honor ancestors.