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Dragons, eels, and lions climb aboard intangibles list

Updated: 2018-06-25

Sanzao Marine Dragon Boat Regatta, Doumen Common Eel Catching, and Sanzao Lion Dance will be designated as 10th batch of city-level representative intangible cultural heritage items, the Zhuhai Culture, Sports & Tourism Bureau has just announced.

According to the Zhuhai Intangible Cultural Heritage Expert Commission, the three activities have important historical, cultural, and scientific value. They have been passed down from generation to generation in a certain group and exert great influence in the region.

Century-old Sanzao Marine Dragon Boat Regatta is rarely seen elsewhere in the Pearl River Delta because it is held at sea. Participants paddle back and forth several times from their villages to the sea before the competition. Then they go back to the village and pick a seedling from a paddy field to put on the boat -- as an omen of good luck.


Saozao Marine Dragon Boat Regatta

Doumen District's Huangjin Village of Jing'an Town is on the Jitimen Waterway of the Pearl River Estuary. Neighboring the South China Sea, this is where salt and fresh water meet. Rich in plankton, the area provides an ideal natural environment for common eel.

With a history of over 70 years, Doumen Common Eel Catching is unique for its catching methods. Every year when the north wind blows, eels return to the Jitimen River, where villagers prepare specialized fishing tools, "Chun" and "Zeng", waiting for them. A row of "Chuns" (13-m cedar branches) is erected in the river, with a "Zeng" (fishing net) tied between every two "Chuns". The "Zeng" takes the shape of a funnel and features increasingly narrow meshes, which makes it easy for the eel to come inside and hard to escape.


Doumen Common Eel Catching


Sanzao Lion Dance [Photos by Zhang Zhou & Zeng Yao / Zhujiang Evening Post]


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