Wednesday, 7 June 2017

UGANDA: First Dragon Festival In Uganda

The first ever Dragon Boat Festival held on the beach side wild life resort of Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe, Wakiso District.

Fun defined the day capped with lots of performances from different artistes, the festival, which was being held for the second time in Africa after last year’s in Egypt, had family and friends have a taste of Chinese culture with plenty of food and drinks.

Under the sunny but cool rays of the lakeside breeze, competitors rowed away on the calm waters of Lake Victoria until the later part of the evening. By 4pm the rowing had been completed and it was time for performances.

The festival, which opened as early as 8am, saw participants compete in different races with cheers from spectators vouching for their teams marooning the wildlife resort.

A dragon boat measures between 50 and 100 feet. It is made out of ordinary fishing canoes and attached with a wooden dragon head. The bow is decorated in bright colours that blend well with the theme of the day that rotates around fun and racing.

The race is mainly held with participant placed in different rows as rowers compete for the dragon cup and shield.

The festival climaxed at about 4pm with performances from Dr T, Eddy Kenzo, Phina Masanyalaze, Golden Band and Rehma Namakula.

Moses Golola famous kick boxer and athlete was in attendance with his usual antics. As usual he cheered the crowd and the rowers in the same measure making fun of not only himself but revellers as well.

Revellers toured the bird and animal sanctuary that boosts of rhinos, chimpanzees, lions, leopards, zebras, antelopes and tortoise, among others.

The sanctuary also has more than 120 bird species. There was also an interactive session as revellers ran side-by-side with two cheetahs caged on the other side of a chain link wire mesh.

The Dragon Boat Festival, which has been celebrated for more than 2,000 years in the Chinese culture, is celebrated every fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar.

In the Chinese tradition, it is popularly referred to as the double fifth festival.

On the menu, there was the Zongzi dish, a popular Chinese plater that is served with rice dumplings, meat and other fillings wrapped in banana fibre leaves. It is also served with wine.

The Dragon Boat Festival, which is recognised as a traditional and statutory holiday in China, has slowly become a global event as the Chinese influence continues to dig its craws into different parts of the world.

In 2008, it was cast out to the rest of the world where it is celebrated in May and June, considering the country it finds you in.

The story in modern day China tells of the tale of the Dragon Boat Festival with claims that it commemorates the death of poet and minister Qu Yuan of the ancient state of Chu during the wars in the states of the Zhou Dynasty.

A cadet member of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices; however when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu, he was banished for opposing the alliance and accused of treason.

During his exile Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry, but 20 years later Yang the capital of Chu was captured by Qin and in despair Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Milou River.

Miller Zhang Jiang of the University Wuhan City was part of the Chinese rowing.

He says the festival reminds the people of China the village fishermen who scattered rice across the water of the Milou River in order to appease the river dragons so that they would not devour Qu yuan.

The festival was indeed a fun-filled day climaxed by the ultimate display of the multi-cultural China-Ugandan ties.

The Duanwu Festival, also often known, especially in the West, as the Dragon Boat Festival, is a traditional holiday originating in China.

It is also known as Zhongxiao Festival. The festival occurs on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar.

The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so the date of the festival varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In 2016, it occurred on June 9; and in 2017, on May 30.