Dragon boating has been around for more than 2,000 years, so it was bound to have some quirky traditions sprout up around it. Some places don't let women paddle ... bad luck. At the Stanley International Dragon Boat Festival, women can compete, but the races are halted half way through the day for some ceremonial rituals.
First a roasted pig is carried out onto the beach and incense is lit around it. Staff members then go out and paint the eyes of the dragon red. Finally the staff takes out a golden blade and makes a sacrificial cut into the pig. I'm not quite sure what is done with the pig afterwards by the staff, but as for the teams, they continue to race.
Even though the competition is on a Thursday, there are still thousands of people out to watch the races, thanks to the fact that it is a national holiday in Hong Kong. More than 4,000 teams took part in this year's competition, and it seemed a good deal stuck around after to celebrate their wins or forget their losses down at Stanley's waterfront pub area.
Oh, and BTW -- SMUG ladies won it all on the beach this year!!