ZHONGSHAN, CHINA - As a sparkling pearl in Guangdong's Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, Shiqi attracts large groups of Chinese and foreign tourists each year due to its fascinating culture, unique cuisine and beautiful environment. Originating in 2008, the annual event of Zhongshan (Shiqi) Leisure Tourism Culture Festival witnessed its tenth occurrence this year, providing a cultural feast for people of all ages.
This year, the opening ceremony of the festival and the Dragon Boat Race were held in Dragon Boat Park. With a history of over 3,000 years, dragon boat racing is an important part of the Dragon Boat Festival, which first originated from the ritual activities of ancient times to worship the water god or dragon god. In 2012, Shiqi Dragon Boat Race was successfully listed as a provincial non-material heritage. Highlights of the opening ceremony - Dragon Boat Festival theme stage play and Dragon Boat Race – are not to be missed. On the Dragon Boat Festival theme stage performance, dancers wearing traditional Han clothing elaborated for the crowd on the long history of the Dragon Boat Festival with poetry, narration and the music of an instrument known as the Guqin; while for the magnificent Dragon Boat Race in Qijiang River, we could see the scene of dragon boat waves and athletes' striving to win the race. It is worth mentioning that the Dragon Boat culture theme park in the vicinity of the opening ceremony has also been put into use. The dragon boat race and its resounding gongs and drums really fired up the crowd.
A dragon and lion dance was also held in the Festival, so that people could feel the exciting charm of the magnificent traditional culture. The characteristic cannon firing is a part of the Festival that you cannot miss, with the first shot for peace, the second for luckiness and the third for long-lasting happiness. In addition, a concert celebrating the 119th birthday of Lv Wencheng, a famous composer and musician from Guangdong was held at night at the pedestrian street under the temple. There were also other very popular activities at the Festival.