Thursday, July 01, 2010

Dragon Festival coming to MN July 10 & 11

I'm helping out during the annual Dragon Festival coming again to Minnesota this year.

This annual two-day family-oriented festival kicks off on July 10. The event’s all-volunteer planning committee is proud to promote the 2,400-yr-old tradition and sport of dragon boat racing. There also will be many activities such as cultural performances, martial arts demonstrations, foods and children activities that promote cross-cultural understanding.

Lao American writers and community members will be on hand to share our culture and heritage in addition to the many other nations reflected in this great event. During that time, I and Saymoukda Vongsay will be on hand to discuss the Lao American Writers Summit and the upcoming Refugee Nation and Legacies of War programs coming to the Twin Cities in a few weeks.

Dragon boat racing originated in China. Legend has it that Qu Yuan, a wise and loyal minister to the Zhou Emperor and loved by the common people, fought against corruption that plagued the court. He advised the emperor to avoid conflict with the Qin Kingdom while other court officials pressured the emperor to have Qu removed from service. When the emperor took the ill advice of the other ministers, he became so despondent he threw himself into the Milou River. Fishermen rushed out in long boats, beating drums to scare the fish away, and throwing dumplings into the water to feed the fish so they would not eat Qu 's body. Dragon boat races began as a way to commemorate Qu Yuan’s death, and is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.

As a poet, how can I not love that?

Representatives from local Asian community organizations will be demonstrating origami, kimono dressing, henna art, calligraphy and more.

Watch the dragon come alive for the weekend and enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of Asia!

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