On May 1st to encourage understanding of local culture and Chinese customs among expats living in Shunde, the government organised a trip to the dragon boat show and race held at Daliang, Shunde. Lot of foreigners showed interest and were thrilled to attend the full day program. the day started with a visit to the boat race, followed by lunch and a visit to the silk museum and the Shunde Art Museum.
The dragon boat race has been famous in Shunde since ancient times. In the early period of Qing Dynasty, Guangdong Xinyu•Zhouyu, written by Qu Dajun, records that “Annual dragon boat race was launched in Longjiang,Shunde in May or June. At that time, the river with placid water as dragon boat field should be in moderate size. Any one who won the match in final could return their hometowns and invite all their relations and friends to have a big dinner. It’s foretold that the gains were abundant and all the people were happy, as well as the trade and business were rich.” Actually the dragon boat match was pop in every town and Bao in the entire county at that time, a stone horizontal inscribed board with Chinese character “Ya Jin Qun Long” is still preserved in Shunde Museum now, which came from Beishui Village, Xingtan in the period of Kangxi of Qing Dynasty. There are two kinds of dragon boat, one is “Wandering Dragon Boat”, and the other is “Running Dragon Boat”. The former, also called “Dragon Boat” is particularly used for cruising and showing the dressing with flags and drumming for fun; the latter, called “Light Dragon Boat” is small with the length from 3 oars to 15 oars, focused on racing speed.
Dragon Boat Song
The “Dragon Boat Song” is a folk rap art originated from Qing Dynasty and prevailed in the border of Shunde county and Cantonese dialect areas before the fifties of the 20th century, and the one with Shunde’s accent is traditional. At that time, the actors always showed this song in teahouses, rural ships or under a big banyan tree by holding the props such as a little wood carving dragon boat, a small gong and tabor, and they were singing while drumming. Most of what they sang is twit and humor stories and good wishes. In the period of the 1911 Revolution and Anti-Japanese War, “Dragon Boat” was applied to the social drumbeating, the feature-length librettos on Anti-Qing Dynasty, Anti-Japanese and denouncing “Three Evils”(Eroticism, Gambling and Narcotic), had wide social influence.
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