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Helmsman of the 'Shipai Fleet' Chi Shuhao: Dragon Boat Race is a movement in my blood
来源:羊城晚报 云上岭南 作者:符畅 发表时间:2024-06-04 22:27

As the Dragon Boat Festival approaches, the annual Dragon Boat Caiqing Ceremony takes place in Shipai Village, Tianhe District, Guangzhou. Caiqing, which literally means "picking the green," is an important ceremony to "awaken" the dragon boats for the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. At the scene, with gongs, drums, and firecrackers, eightsleeping dragons are "awakened". On the Nanyue Dragon Boat of the Shipai Village, the helmsman Chi Shuhao dressed in a red shirt stood in the bow, holding the oars, rhythmically blowing the whistle, and directing the "dragon" forward.

Chi Shuhao is 43 years old this year. He has shown great interest in the dragon boat race since his childhood. "When I was very young, I watched the adults rowing the dragon boat, and I was especially interested in it. I remember once after school, I sneaked onto a dragon boat and felt very happy for just sitting on it."

In those days, there were no safety facilities like life jackets on the dragon boats, Chi Shuhao said. It was actually very dangerous for small kids to go on the dragon boat. Therefore, when his father learned that he had sneaked onto the boat, he came to look for him in a rage. Chi's father suddenly took out a cane from behind his back to give him a lesson, and he couldn't run away because he was on the dragon boat. "Now I'm in my 40s. My mom and dad still often tease me about this in front of my children," Chi said with a laugh.

Every year, it is during the ceremonies of Caiqing and Songlong (sending off the dragon) that the children are allowed to board the dragon boat "openly." Chi said, that in the world of the children, rowing a dragon boat is not just for fun, it also brings them a sense of pride. Since there are many dragon boats in Shipai Village, every year when the eight dragon boats all come out to visit other villages at the same time, everyone will praise them, calling them the "Shipai Fleet."

To Chi Shuhao, the dragon boats represent the story of inheritance. Every time the villagers row the dragon boat to visit their relatives and friends, the older generation will talk about the history and stories of dragon boats in Shipai Village. Chi's father has been a helmsman for more than 40 years, and now that he has reached the age of 70 and "retired" with honor. The "baton" is now passed on to the son.

Following his father for more than ten years, Chi knows that the helmsman is one of the most important roles on the dragon boat. "You need to make the boat go straight as far as possible, and you can't get off the rudder too often because the resistance will be too much for the boat.Besides, the helmsman needs to feel the wind, and the water flow, and make timely adjustments and adaptations, so that the dragon boat can be more labor-saving. Therefore, the helmsman must have a wealth of experience."

Chi's son is also a huge fan of the dragon boat race. Whenever he has spare time, Chi teaches his son and nephew how to row the dragon boat. "The spirit of the dragon boat is about unity, courage, and striving to be the first, and I hope they can learn the spirit little by little."

The spirit of the dragon boat is passed down not only among the villagers but also all people interested in traditional culture.

Chi Shuhao is a director of the Guangzhou Dragon Boat Traditional Culture Promotion Association. As a training base for dragon boat sports in Guangzhou, the association undertakes several functions such as the popularization of dragon-boat tradition, training, and race organization. Its oriented groups include both children and new Guangzhouers. "To popularize and inherit the dragon-boat tradition, we need to go out the villages, and we hope more people can experience the dragon boat culture firsthand."

To Chi Shuhao, the dragon boat race is a movement in his blood. He spends almost all his time on this love. "In 12 months of the year, I row the dragon boats for nine months," he said. "Nowadays, many villagers settle outside the village, so it is hard for us to get together. But every year, when the Dragon Boat Festival comes, they will come back and gather together in the ancestral hall and on the dragon boat. That's great."

Source: Yangcheng Evening News












文丨记者 符畅