Thousands attend dragon boat races in Sydney

SYDNEY, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) — More than 3,000 paddlers descended on Sydney's picturesque Darling Harbour over the weekend to take part in the Chinese cultural phenomenon of dragon boat racing.
"We're proud to hold the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia and the biggest Dragon Boat races in the southern hemisphere," Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
"It's wonderful to see this ancient Chinese tradition brought to life in our very own Darling Harbour, where families line the foreshore to enjoy the thrill of the races."
"The participants have worked very hard to get there, and serve as an inspiration to others."
In total, over 100 races were held over the two days with a number of high profile local celebrities on board to welcome the year of the dog.
In order to spread a little extra luck for those who competed, lion dancers and dragon drummers performanced onshore after paddlers dabbed some red paint on the eyes of each boat to "awaken the dragons".
Although the annual races in Sydney are largely a fun, charity-based event, the popularity of the patriotic Chinese sport has actually risen quite dramatically across Australia with many new clubs opening up around the country.
Source: Xinhua