One of the most competitive and colourful events in Hong Kong, every year on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, crews of paddlers re-enact the legend of Qu Yuan, on rowing boats shaped like dragons to the beats of the ever-rhythmic sound of drums. This year’s Dragon Boat Racing might have been cancelled due to crowd control, it can’t stop us from celebrating the festivity -with fashion AND sticky rice dumpling. Read on for a brief history of this traditional Chinese festival and watersport, and for dragon boats inspired fashion picks.
Dragon Boat Festival or as known as the Tuen Ng Festival began as far back as 2,500 years (some records suggest that it might have begun as early as 7th century AD!) to mourn the death of a great poet and high-ranking government official, Qu Yuan, who had drowned himself out of sorrow when he discovered that his court had been overrun by enemies. Being the spiritual (and superstitious) bunch, the ancient Chinese believed that Dragons possess some kind of spiritual element that could chase away evil spirits. Hence, dragon boats were deployed by the villager in search of Qu’s body. Sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves (as known as Zong Zi) were thrown into the same river as food for fish in order to prevent them from eating Qu’s body. Albeit, they never managed to find Qu. Since then, the date of Qu’s suicide — the fifth day of the fifth lunar month is celebrated with Dragon Boats Racing.
Being an important element of the festival, the dragon boats are always fabulously sculpted and beautifully coloured. Though many of us might not see one in person this year, we have dug up some flamboyant dragon boat images to serve as modern oriental inspirations for our outfit picks this summer!
Gold and jade, two of the many favourites of the Chinese when it comes to dressing up. Update your chinoiserie wardrobe with a statement jade ring from Oscar De La Renta and a minimalistic flouncy-sleeved yellow top from Solace London.
Orange, yellow and turquoise — colours that scream summer. You can’t go wrong with these tropics themed colour palette. Emulate the scaly dragon with our yellow old Céline python box bag!
There are no better ways to stand out in a dragon boat race with a golden dragon head. Replicate the big golden dragon head energy by dressing gold — the very sparkly and metallic kind. Go for our vintage Judith Leiber clutch for that extra sparkle, and our vintage metallic Lanvin dress for that touch of regal metallic gold.
These are hands down the most interesting and artsy dragon boat that we have found while sailing through the world wide web. Add a sprinkle of modernity with the art deco fave — polka dots. Don’t forget your contrasting colour palette and add in a bit of yellow with the electric blue.
The ever-popular Chinese colour combo — red and blue, as observed in countless Chinese temples and palaces. Freshen up the combo with a hot pink dress, a pair of Maison Margiela yellow sling back mules and a cobalt blue Saint Laurent mini bag.