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Singapore Dragon Boat Festival 2024 Celebration


We talk to Andreas, president of Austcham Paddle Club about his experiences and the up coming dragon boat festival at Bedok Reservoir! @Austcham Paddle Club Singapore @Truly Expat @Adventures of Beausangs

♬ original sound – Truly Expat Podcast – Truly Expat Podcast

The tradition of dragon boating is believed to have originated in ancient China over 2,000 years ago. The practice is said to have its roots in the legend of Qu Yuan, a revered poet and statesman of the Chu kingdom.

According to the legend, local fishermen raced their boats to save Qu Yuan when he drowned in the Miluo River. Over time, dragon boat racing evolved into an annual event to commemorate Qu Yuan’s death, eventually becoming a traditional Chinese festival known as the Dragon Boat Festival. Today, dragon boating is not only a sport but also a cultural activity celebrated by people around the world.

The Singapore Dragon Boat Festival 

The Singapore Dragon Boat Festival (SDBF) is one of Singapore’s oldest dragon boat races. It is also associated with the Singapore River Regatta, which has transformed into the Singapore Regatta Waterfest. SDBF has maintained the same structure and racing format since its founding, with the only changes being the racing venue and distance. 

Initially held as a sea event covering an 800m distance of the sea at East Coast Park, SDBF now takes place in the peaceful surroundings of Singapore’s reservoirs—the scenic Marina Reservoir or the tranquil Bedok Reservoir. It has adopted the International Dragon Boat Federation’s (IDBF) standard premier racing distance of 500m.

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Where can you watch the Dragon Boat Race In Singapore?

You can head to Bedok Reservoir to catch the race action. The calm waters and lush greenery surrounding Bedok Reservoir have made it a great location for the event since 1978. You can enjoy the excitement of the races from various vantage points along the reservoir’s banks and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere. 

The Singapore Dragon Boat Festival at Bedok Reservoir will be held on June 22 and 23, 2024. This annual celebration is vibrant, with competitive dragon boat races and various cultural activities.

The day includes intricately decorated dragon boats, synchronised rowing, and a festive atmosphere filled with traditional Chinese performances and food, particularly the popular rice dumplings and zongzi.

The expat’s guide to where to live in Singapore – Siglap

Why are Dumplings a significant part of the Dragon Boat Festival?

Dumplings play a significant role in the celebrations during the Dragon Festival, also known as the Duanwu Festival. This traditional holiday in China honours the famous poet and minister Qu Yuan. 

One of the most famous legends associated with the Festival is the story of Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Miluo River. To prevent fish and water dragons from consuming his body, villagers threw sticky rice dumplings, known as zongzi, into the river. 

The tradition of making and eating dumplings during the Dragon Festival has continued to commemorate this act and ward off evil spirits. Also, the shape of the zongzi, with its triangular form, is said to symbolise the spirit of the dragon, further connecting dumplings to the Festival’s theme.

The Dragon Boat Festival Chinatown Celebrations

The Dragon Boat Festival is a significant celebration for Chinese communities globally, taking place on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. In 2024, the Chinatown Business Association (CBA) is organising an inaugural Dragon Boat Festival celebration in Chinatown Singapore from 7 to 9 June, featuring diverse cultural programs and activities.

One of the Festival’s main attractions is the Dragon Boat Festival exhibition, “Dragon Boat Festival: Of Thumping Drumbeats and Delicious Dumplings,” organised by CBA in collaboration with Sun Yat-Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. 

The exhibition allows you to explore the rich history and cultural origins of the Dragon Boat Festival, discover the significance of rice dumplings and their preparation across different Chinese dialect groups, and learn about the origins of dragon boat races.

If you visit Chinatown on these dates, you can win $30 Chinatown F&B vouchers by participating in the Dragon Boat (Rowing Machine) Contest and the Guess the Number of Bak Chang in a Gunny Sack Contest.

There will also be a variety of fun activities for all ages, including traditional Chinese childhood games such as pitch-pot, five stones, hopscotch, lantern riddles, storytelling, and a dragon boat craft workshop.

Participate in a hands-on workshop to learn the art of making Hainanese Bak Chang and discover the heritage of rice wines, along with various Chinese cultural performances such as Lion Dance, Dragon Dance, Guzheng, and Cantonese Opera. 

You can support the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) by purchasing a rice dumpling sachet and hanging your wishes on the Wishing Wall. All proceeds will be donated to APSN, and donors can win a 2D1N staycation package at Amara Singapore or Dorsett Singapore Hotels.

Singapore dragon boat festival

Wan Qing Dragon Boat Festival 2024

The Festival offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the historical and cultural significance of the Dragon Boat Festival, including the traditions surrounding rice dumplings and the origins of dragon boat races. 

You can also participate in hands-on workshops to learn about the art of making Hainanese Bak Chang and the heritage of rice wines. The Wan Qing Dragon Boat Festival promises an enriching and enjoyable experience with diverse Chinese cultural performances, traditional childhood games, and engaging workshops.


Spending my sundays exploring Singapore is my favourite thing to do #sunyatsenmemorial #singapore #exploringsingapore #singaporetiktok

♬ original sound – Truly Expat – Truly Expat

Singapore Dragon Boat Association are looking for Volunteers.

Singapore Dragon Boat Association have organised the following events at the Water Sports Centre in May 2024:

  • National Inter-Schools Dragon Boat Championships 2024 on Friday, 24 May 2024, from 8 am to 6 pm
  • ExxonMobil Dragon Boat Carnival on Saturday, 25 May 2024, from 8 am to 2 pm
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Want to get involved in Dragon Boating? 

AustCham Dragonboat

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