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Frankfurt's very own Chinese Dragon Boat race - and CGTN took part

Peter Oliver in Frankfurt

 , Updated 00:27, 27-May-2024

The 2024 Frankfurt China Festival kicked off this weekend on the river Main in Germany. The European financial center saw the traditional dragon boat festival return for the first time in over a decade. Twenty two teams from across Europe and China took part.

‌Music, dance, food and sport. What's not to love about one of China's most vibrant summer events, the Dragon Boat Festival.‌

Chinese diplomats and Frankfurt city officials took part in dotting the eye of the dragon boat heads, it is said to "awaken" the dragons. China's ambassador to Germany, Wu Ken told CGTN fostering these cultural ties is exactly what we need.

"Last month during the meeting between President Xi and (Chancellor) Olaf Scholz in Beijing, they reached a series of agreements. One of the points was to deepen the cultural exchange between our two countries.

"Today's event proved the depth of our cultural exchanges. We have dragon boat competition in the year of dragon, showing that through culture and sports, people of the two countries can get really close."

A Chinese dragon boat on Frankfurts's river Main. /CGTN Europe
A Chinese dragon boat on Frankfurts's river Main. /CGTN Europe

A Chinese dragon boat on Frankfurts's river Main. /CGTN Europe

The Chinese Consulate in Frankfurt organized the event. Consular General Huang Yiyang was very happy with the uptake.

"It reached a quite a lot of, very positive response, not only from the Chinese community, but also the local German community as well. It also attracted participants from France, Italy, also China and all across Europe to participate in this event. Everybody loves fair competition for friendship. I think that's the essence of this very event," he said.

The dragon boat festival has roots deep in history. Going back to the time popular ancient Chinese patriot and poet Qu Yuan, who sacrificed himself in the river in despair at the impending defeat of his kingdom in 278bc, dragon boats themselves go back to around 2500 BC in southern China.

‌CGTN wasn't just there to watch, we were also down to compete. Despite my dubious fitness levels, I was accepted onto the Donau Loong team from the German city of Ulm. Made up of German's Chinese and U.S. competitors, they had been putting in the training ahead of this competition.

President of the Ulm Dragon Boat Club, Charles Rhoades told CGTN why he loves the event: "It's a team sport. Everybody has to work together to get the boat to go. Naturally, you can move a boat by yourself, but without everybody combining their efforts together, it just doesn't work right. And this is something important for me. The team together, everybody working together as one."


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Out on the river the Donau Loong team managed a couple of first place finishes in the preliminary rounds.

While I started to get a little carried away at the prospect of a final, the head teacher of the Chinese school in Ulm that organized the team told us their reason for coming.

"I think that it's because it's the year of the dragon that we've been able to present our culture here in Germany. It's a pleasure to be here. We want to have fun."

While we certainly did have fun, sadly, a fourth place finish in the final meant the Ulm team left empty handed, with the worthy winners picking up their prizes.

The beat goes on for the 2024 Frankfurt China Festival with a series of events planned for the rest of the year.

Frankfurt's very own Chinese Dragon Boat race - and CGTN took part

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