Dragon Boat Festival, Vancouver 2012, British Columbia
According to the ADBA website, the boat races represent the Legend of Chu Yuan.
"Over 2000 years ago Chu Yuan, poet, warrior and loyal aide to the emperor, fell victim to plots and deception and found himself out of favor at court," the site says.
"When the old emperor died, Chu Yuan was unjustly banished and wandered the countryside composing poems he hoped would be heard and heeded by the new emperor. His inconsolable desolation grew until one day he threw himself into the Mi Lo River. His devoted followers, learning of his death, rushed to search for his body. Fearing the fish might devour the body; they beat their paddles on the water and banged drums and gongs to frighten the fish. Today, athletes from around the world meet to commemorate Yuan's sacrifice for honor and justice in the form of Dragon Boat Racing."
Teams are made up of 20 members, including 18 paddlers, one drummer and one flag catcher. Two boats starts at a time in a race for 300 meter coursing down the Fox River. Teamwork is the key as the paddlers move to the beat of the drummer until the catcher captures the flag.