NASSAU, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Dragon boat racing continues to gain popularity among Bahamians, and has become an attraction for locals and foreign visitors.
Enjoying the warm temperatures, blue skies and clear Atlantic Ocean waters, dragon boat crews train every Saturday ahead of the 2nd Annual Bahamas Dragon Boat Festival scheduled for September this year.
Christine Chin, president of the Bahamas Chinese Dragon Boat Association (BCDBA), told Xinhua that these races provide an opportunity for Bahamians and visitors to learn about Chinese culture and history, as well as to experience the vibrancy of the sport.
"Overall, the BCDBA plays an important role in promoting Chinese culture in the Bahamas and fostering greater understanding and appreciation between the Bahamian and Chinese communities," she said.
The first dragon boat festival in Nassau took place last August when teams of various organizations and businesses, from both home and abroad, competed against each other.
Filipino student John Romel Perez told Xinhua that he has a lot of fun while taking part in dragon boat races in the Bahamas, where he lives.
"I started when Chin invited me to the first practice, and I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun and so I decided to go to the next practice," said the 17-year-old student.
A traditional holiday in China, the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The festival commemorates the legend of the Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan.
Nathaniel Farrington, coach of a dragon boat team in the Bahamas, said there are currently 19 local teams across the country.
"As we get closer to the festival, those teams should start coming back to practice. This year we are expecting the festival to be much bigger than the last year's," he said.
Among the participants in the festival, there are also international teams from Canada, Panama and some other Caribbean countries.
Chinese descendant Brent Wong, 41, told Xinhua that he feels proud of being part of the dragon boat races in the Bahamas as this is part of China's cultural identity and traditions. "I think there is a lot to be proud of as we share Chinese heritage."
In addition to dragon boat races, the BCDBA also hosts other cultural events, such as Chinese New Year celebrations. These events feature traditional Chinese food, music, martial arts and other cultural activities.