No races for Dragon Boat Festival for second year in a row

For the second year in a row, dragon boaters were not in action in Bedok Reservoir during the Dragon Boat Festival.

Just like last year, Covid-19 safe management measures have put on hold the races in the event.

In previous years, the two-day celebration attracted more than 3,000 participants and supporters each year from more than 120 Singapore Dragon Boat Association (SDBA) affiliate teams.

The festival, also known as Dumpling Festival or Duan Wu Jie, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which was yesterday this year.

Because of Covid-19, the SDBA said it was unable to conduct any large-scale commemorative event.

But Ms Apple Huang, vice-president of publicity and promotion at the SDBA, noted that the dragon boat community had become more united during the pandemic.

"We treasure every opportunity to train and race. When the situation does not allow it, like now, we do our part to fight the virus by getting ourselves vaccinated and staying at home."

Ms Huang said the SDBA was using its Facebook and Instagram pages to spread the word about the origins of the festival and the growth of dragon boating as a sport and recreational activity here.

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life of Qu Yuan, a third-century poet and political figure in the state of Chu in ancient China. He drowned himself in the river after the capital of his country was captured.

Separately, President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Facebook posts yesterday that while the dragon boat races have been cancelled, Singaporeans can still celebrate the festival through enjoying dumplings and spending time with family and friends at home during the June holidays.

Madam Halimah added that she received some halal dumplings from her friends last week, which she and her family enjoyed tremendously.

PM Lee said: "Whether you made your own bak chang at home, or bought some to support your favourite hawker, stay safe and keep watching out for one another, even as we head out into the 'new normal'.

"Things are not quite the same yet, but united, we are heading in the right direction."