Canal Culture
In the past, residents along Grand Canal held dragon-boat racing on Dragon-boat Festival on the 5th day of 5th month each year, though the traditional has been gradually disappeared in recent year. In the past when the harvest was good, residents from villages around the Grand Canal would gather at Grand Canal to compete dragon boat racing, each boat clanging gongs and beating drums. The dragon boat was made of wood and was a little bigger than the pleasure boat on the Westlake. A painted dragon head with yellow horn and red cheek was placed on the bow. The skeleton of the dragon body was made of bamboo skin. The inside of the skeleton was stuffed with straws and the outside was pasted with white paper. The dragon body was yellow and white in color and the dragon tail blue. During dragon boat racing, each boat was boarded with 16 persons, including 6 on each side who would paddle by manual, 3 standing on the bow (the front one using bamboo spar to test the depth of water and control the direction of the course) and one on the stern to hold the rudder with oar. The boat racers were not in uniform, some were even barebacked. But all of them exerted their utmost in boating. They deliberately let the boat fluctuated wildly so that water splashing around the boat. When the boat was in the low, the water was scooped up and ejected from dragon mouth to make a spectacular scene. Residents along the canal would crow on both sides of the canal to appreciate the dragon boat racing. Two dragon boats used to pass river branch in Mishi Lane region until it reached Maiyu Bridge and Gongchen Bridge by the Grand Canal.
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