Since ancient times the residents in Jiangcun Village (蒋村) in Xixi Wetlands have gathered in Shentankou (深潭口) and held annual dragon boat competitions to celebrate the much-loved festival. As a national-level intangible cultural heritage the Jiangcun Dragon Boat Competition, locally known as “Long Zhou Sheng Hui (龙舟盛会: Dragon Boat Pageant)”, originally stemmed from the Southern Song Dynasty (960-1279) gaining its fame in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when Emperor Qianlong bestowed it the name “Long Zhou Sheng Hui” during one of his inspection tours in Jiangnan Region. Since then the name continues to be used to refer to the dragon boat competition in Jiangcun Village.
During the “Long Zhou Sheng Hui” competition, which commences at 12 noon on June 9, over 100 dragon boats from Jiangcun village and each with their unique style can be seen competing against each another. Another spectacle not to be missed are the dragon-headed boats spouting water which results from the many boatmen energetically rowing their boats and the steersman standing up and sitting down to the sounds of beating drums.
After entering the central area of Shentankou each dragon boat needs to rotate 360 degrees which is the trickiest part as often many steersmen can fall into water or the dragon boat may knock into other dragon boats causing them to capsize. Besides competing for speed, “Long Zhou Sheng Hui” also focuses on performance skills, fully immersing us in this splendid traditional culture.
“Long Zhou Sheng Hui” in Jiangcun Village has gradually become a folk custom alluring visitors from all over the world and it is no longer a festival that occurs only at Dragon Boat Festival but it is a project to improve team working sprits. Every May to October Xixi Dragon Boat Combo will be available for teams of 6-10 people wanting to try the dragon boat experience. According to their own demands, visitors can choose half-day dragon boat experiencing combo costing 2880 RMB per boat or half-day dragon boat experiencing, plus half day Xixi boat cruise combo which costs 3980 RMB per boat.
Visit Xixi National Wetland Park during Dragon Boat Festival and you can also enjoy folk art performances such as boxing on boats, Yueju Opera and you can even try your hands at making rice dumplings and perfumed sachets.
In Jiande, there is an ancient town that has experienced thousands of years of wind and rain. It has a beautiful name called Meicheng (Plum Blossom Town). Meicheng was the state town of the then Yanzhou and is now the county town of Jiande. It has a history of 1700 years.