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Dragonboat | History & Tradition

Loud drumming and furious paddling

Legend has it that in 300 BC the suicide of the exiled poet Qu Yuan, whom fishermen wanted to rescue from the dangerous fish with loud drumming and furious paddling, was the origin of dragon boat racing.

The poet and statesman had become a thorn in the side for the Chinese Court because of his reform policies. And since then, dragon boat races have traditionally been staged in China to represent the search for the soul of the poet.


The first modern dragon boat festival took place in Hong Kong in 1976. The enthusiasm for such festivals came to Europe via the USA, New Zealand and Canada.

In 1989, dragon boat racing was imported into Germany, with the first Dragon Boat Festival to mark the 800th anniversary of the port of Hamburg.

There are now regular German Championships, and European and World Championships.

In addition to the official championship events more and more Fun and Company Regattas.

The first dragon boat contest in Frankfurt took place in 1991 as part of the newly conceived Museum Riverside Festival. Since then, dragon boat racing has been gaining more and more (active) fans every year in Frankfurt.