– Experience Dragon Boat Festival in Xiamen on 3 June 2011

April 18, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News reveals that boat crews in Xiamen will be preparing for China's famous Dragon Boat Festival being held in June that will see processions of boats racing along the waters by the city.

The festival this year is on 3rd June 2011 and is an important holiday in China and teams will be manning the ornately carved dragon headed boats and powering through the water using only hand paddles to propel the boats. The boats usually consist of a team of 20 paddlers sitting in pairs while the vessel is manned by a drum beater who sets the stroke rate and someone at the back to steer the craft.

The origins of the event are said to date back to around 278 BCE when a famous poet named Qu Yuan committed suicide in a river and it is believed that the locals went out to try to rescue him by paddling out in boats.

From this fateful event the races were held in remembrance and another custom from the tale that visitors using a Xiamen hotel can see is the eating of rice dumplings known as zongzi. Sources tell that the villagers threw the dumplings into the river to try to stop the fish from eating the revered poet's body. Even today these dumplings are widespread at festivals and visitors can wash them down with the wine called xionghuangjiu.

Lek Boonlert, marketing head at commented: "As a public holiday Xiamen will be overcome with extra visitors and the chances of finding a hotel for people that haven't booked in advance will be exceptionally slim."