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Chinese traditional culture - Dragon Boat Festival (3)

A dragon boat is a very long and narrow human-powered boat used in the team paddling sport or dragon boat racing which originated in the country of China. For racing events, dragon boats are always rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. At other times the decorative regalia is usually removed, although the drum often remains aboard for training purposes. Dragon boat races are traditionally held to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, making dragonboating the only sport to be celebrated as a national holiday.

The standard crew complement of a contemporary dragon boat is around 22, comprising 20 paddlers in pairs facing toward the bow of the boat, 1 drummer or caller at the bow facing toward the paddlers, and 1 steerer or tiller(helm) at the rear of the boat, although for races it is common to have just 18 paddlers. Dragon boats vary in length and crew size will vary accordingly, from small dragon boats with 10 paddlers, up to the massive traditional boats which have upwards of 50 paddlers, plus drummer and steerer.

Modern dragon boat racing is organized at an international level by the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF). The IDBF, a Member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) recognizes two types of Dragon Boat Racing activities, namely Sport racing, as practiced by IDBF member organizations; and Festival racing, which are the more traditional and informal types of races, organized around the world, where racing rules vary from event to event.