The number of paddlers varies depending on the size of the boats, but usually a standard dragon boat race has 22 people, a coxswain, a drummer and 20 sailors. This year we’ll look at the more technical aspect of the dragon boat festival – the intense sport of dragon boat racing. The drummer is the heart and soul of the dragon boat team, as “he” “directs” the rowers, forcing them to row at a steady pace. Dragon boat racing is popular in China and other parts of Asia and has spread to more than 50 countries. The pulsating reverberation of the drum is like the beating heart of a dragon boat. Sailors sit on either side of the boat, 10 people on each side, to balance and row forward with the dragon boat’s oar. It can be an exhilarating feeling when the boat feels incredibly heavy for the first 15 paddles, and then the boat and crew seem to glide across the surface of the water. Be sure to download the free book “Chinese New Year Traditions and Origin Stories” to learn more about the various traditional Chinese holidays while adding to your vocabulary and expanding your understanding of modern Chinese culture. The holiday is celebrated with colorful dragon boat races. A drummer at the top beats a drum to encourage sailors to move forward and regulate the movement and frequency of the sailors’ oars. The drummer directs the rowers and marks the beats of the rowers with the rhythmic beats of the drum. Almost like a whole being, “he” summons the spirit of the dragon to mark the somber event. Traditionally, dragon boats are intricately designed and beautifully decorated.