NSYSU organizes dragon boat race on the Sizihwan beach to celebrate upcoming Dragon Boat Festival
Over fifty students participated in the inflatable dragon boat race held on the grass and on the beach at the Sunset Beach Resort. The race was hosted by Remco Peters and Elon Bar-Lev, coaches of the NSYSU International Dragon Boat Team. Dragon boat racing is a long-standing tradition for NSYSU international students as the University’s Dragon Boat Team has been taking part in competitions in Kaohsiung for the past 12 years. However, because of the epidemic-prevention measures, dragon boat competitions throughout Taiwan were cancelled. OIA thus came up with the idea of inflatable dragon boat race.
The event also included sachet making and a dinner banquet. Chinese Language Center teacher Pei-Yun Yang introduced the history of the Dragon Boat Festival, which is a commemoration of the poet and minister Chu Yuan living in the Warring States period. Sachets, stuffed with cotton and dried herbs, are believed to protect from evil and illnesses. With teacher Yang’s instructions and the Student Ambassadors as teacher assistants, students made colorful sachets with traditional Hakka floral cloth – a memorable souvenir for the Festival.
Dinner was served with sticky rice dumplings (粽子 zòngzi), a traditional snack eaten during the Festival. The dinner was a rare opportunity for international students and faculty to get together and catch up. Students expressed warm appreciation for Hana Ting, Program Coordinator for Exchange Students at OIA, for her dedication and commitment during this unusual spring semester.
Studying at NSYSU and experiencing life in Taiwan has definitely been a memorable experience for many international students. Aswin from India, who is graduating from Telecommunications Engineering this year, will miss the unique study environment at the University, is helpful lab mates and the kindness of the Taiwanese people. He hopes to find a job and stay in Taiwan after graduation to further the experience. “In the past, we have had many exchange students who came back to pursue a degree, either master or Ph.D. degree,” said Vice President for International Affairs Chih-Wen Kuo. The University hopes this Party was a ‘see you soon’ rather than a ‘goodbye’.
Dragon Boat Festival is an important celebration in Chinese culture, taking place on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. The festival is to commemorate the famous Chinese poet and minister Chu Yuan (屈原 Qūyuán) (c. 340-278 BC), who committed suicide by jumping into a river. Legend has it that to prevent his body from being eaten by fish, people would throw rice dumplings (粽子 zòngzi) wrapped in bamboo leaves into the water and paddle their boats in search of the poet’s body, beating the drums to ward off evil spirits. Thus, the legend turned into present traditions of the Dragon Boat Festival: eating rice dumplings, dragon boat racing, and wearing sachets or perfumed bags (香包 xiāng bāo).