Following 23rd April Town Square celebrations of St George slaying the Hilgay Fen residing dragon, Downham Market Town Council’s next dragon-inspired legend of a different kind comes to Downham Market on Sunday 10th August with the staging of the eighth annual Water Festival spectacular incorporating Dragon Boat Racing on the River Great Ouse Relief Channel. This exotic Chinese festival has an ancient history and is a re-enactment of a tragic event that took place more than 2000 years ago in the kingdom of Chu.
Legend has it that falsely accused of treason and exiled by jealous rivals in the government, despairing warrior poet, Qu Yuan, threw himself into the Mi Lo River. Local fishermen rowed out to save the drowning poet and tried to rescue him from vicious fish by beating the water with their paddles. But their attempts failed and every year in Hong Kong a Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat) Festival is held as a mark of respect for the fishermen’s frantic efforts and to commemorate the tragic death of Qu Yuan.
The dragon boat’s fierce looking dragon’s heads were added later to ward off evil spirits and in Hong Kong special dumplings are eaten to represent the dumplings that were thrown into the river to stop the fish eating the mighty Qu’s body.
Now in its eighth year Downham Market Water Festival 2014 promises to be even bigger and
better and is now an eagerly anticipated annual community event attended by thousands of
spectators from throughout the area. It offers an ideal opportunity for companies, clubs, or societies to showcase their organisation and demonstrate community engagement in a most cost effective manner whilst offering team building opportunities and most importantly, fun!
If all this fires your imagination, there is still time to get a team of up to 11 people together and sign up for the Downham Market Dragon Boat Challenge. No previous experience is required and the Festival promises a fantastic day out for all the teams and their families. The boating will be supplemented by plenty of land-based fun activities on the riverbank including arena displays, funfair, food outlets and stalls.
For further information and details of how to become a participating team call 01366 387770
or [email protected]