I prevailed upon my family’s indulgence and we got to go check out some of the dragonboat qualifying races on the Tainan canal Monday night. (apologies for the photo quality– but taking clear photos of moving boats at night was beyond my camera’s and my abilities).
There were lots of spectators lining the railings. Three lanes were set up. Hanging over the railing, I could feel the warm breeze in my hair, and the elbows of the people around me. The races were mostly made up of local clubs of guys, there were a few middle school dragonboats. There is a drummer that sits and acts as a coxswain, drumming faster and faster, shouting over the din of spectators calling out jaiyo! jaiyo! as the two columns of rowers slide the oars through the water, gaining momentum until they reach the finish line.
It got quite exciting. You can feel the drums vibrating through the air– I think every race should include drumming.
More about dragonboat festival traditions are here.