Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Dragon Boats Celebrate Chinese Culture on the Charles


The Boston–Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will come to the Cambridge side of the Charles River on June 9 and 10. This free event is the longest-running dragon boat race in North America, with more than 50 teams competing and rowers that range from novice to expert. Trials will take place on Saturday and the races will be held on Sunday, when the festival will also include Asian arts, crafts, food, martial arts and dance performances throughout the afternoon. Races start early in the morning and cultural activities begin at noon.

The Western Avenue Bridge and Weeks Footbridge along the Charles River are good places to view the Dragon Boat races, which feature 39-foot-long Hong Kong-style fiberglass boats with dragon heads and tails. In addition to the races, drumming, yo-yo performances, music and lion dances are expected to draw thousands of spectators, making this one of the largest Chinese cultural events in Boston. Dragon boat races began more than 2,000 years ago as a ceremony to commemorate the life and death of Chinese poet and political leader Qu Yuan. Today the races take place around the world and showcase Chinese culture. The Boston event attracts racers from Florida to Canada, making it the biggest dragon boat race in the United States. Teams represent area clubs, businesses, schools and communities.

For more information, visit