Dragon Boat Festival at Zhu Village: preparing

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Early in the morning of the day, dragon boats are dug out of Zhu river. The villagers tell me that hiding the boats in the river protects the boats when it is not in use.

dsc00107Around 9am in the morning, people started gathering at Zhu River at the entrance of the village, despite the light rain. Many of these people are nearby residents from urban villages in the area (the region is predominantly made up of urban villages). Speaking to some of them, I found that while some came purposely to watch the event, some have been attracted by the crowd. The close proximity of the river to the main roads and entrance of the village helped gather them to the event.

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Along the edges of the river there are a couple of boats lying adle, with drums, charms and all necessary equipment ready on board. These boats are from Zhu Village and carry with them flags and drums with the Pan surname. As time approaches 10am, rowers started boarding the boats. What fascinated me was that there were a lot of young people on board, including a couple of kids (less than ten years old). After speaking to them, it became clear that all of the people on board are either villagers or their relatives. They had to go through a bidding process to get a place on the boat. The rowers then have to go through months of training before they are ready for today’s event. It is interesting to see that there is so much interesting in the traditional event from the village. However, it also confirms that there is no participation opportunities for migrants in these activities. They are neither entitled to participate nor have the money to bid for a place.