HUNDREDS of people enjoyed the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival in Southampton.

The three-day event saw a dragon dance, martial arts display, fan dancing, and tai chi demonstrations.Daily Echo:

It was organised by the Chinese Association of Southampton in partnership with Red Dragonfly Productions.

The Dragon Boat Festival, a popular national holiday in China, is held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which occurs on a Friday in 2022.Daily Echo:

JJ Wang, Secretary of the Chinese Association, told the Daily Echo: "(The dragon boat show) is a traditional celebration in China where people go to the river banks to see boat racing.

"There are drums and everyone is cheering."

The festival commemorates the legend of the Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan, and as per tradition, people eat zongzi - sticky rice dumplings.Daily Echo:

Michael Ng, chairperson of the Chinese Association of Southampton said: "The Dragonboat Performance Festival is an important event to bring communities together to celebrate the colourful culture and diversity."

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The Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Jacqui Rayment, said: "It's great to be down here with the Chinese community as they commemorate the great poet.

"He has played a huge part in the festivities and is part of their long history.

"This festival commemorates his life and his passing with people coming together not just from the Chinese community but from communities right across Southampton wider.Daily Echo:

Meanwhile, Rajan Jolly and his wife, Meenakshi Jolly, represented the Southampton and Eastleigh Asian Community at the opening on Friday.

The pair also performed on the final day of the event.

Rajan, 48, said: "We are delighted to be part of the Chinese festival."

He added: "Southampton is all about bringing communities from different cultures together. So we are excited to share our Indian culture through this festival.

Meanwhile, Meenakshi, 48, added: "We have been practising for two months."

A special theatre performance of The Ballad of Mulan, based on the legendary Chinese warrior who inspired Disney's films, will also be performed at MAST Mayflower Studios.

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