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Colourful vessels competed in Dragon Boat Festival at Royal Docks

PUBLISHED: 19:54 01 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:27 02 July 2013

One of the dragon boats at the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2013

One of the dragon boats at the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2013

Archant

Chinese dragon boats raced through the Royal Docks as colourful flags and rhythmic drumming heralded competing crews for the Dragon Boat Festival.

Xueting Ni (right) and her assistant at the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2013Xueting Ni (right) and her assistant at the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2013

Second only to the Chinese New Year in the Chinese festival calendar, the event marks the beginning of the rainy season and the summer solstice when farmers traditionally began to sow their seeds.

According to legend, the first Dragon Boat Festival took place in southern China over 2500 years ago around the same time as the First Olympic Games in Greece. Today dragon boat racing is one of the most popular water sports not just in China but around the globe.

Now in its 18th year, yesterday’s London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, organised by The London Chinatown Lions Club, coincided with similar events across the world.

Around 40 vessels, each around 30 foot long and with 16 rowers and a drummer on board, raced through the water. The winning team was called the Expendables.

Kung-fu demonstrations and lion dance were also part of the event.

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