Qu Yuan Pageant

Thousands of participants and spectators throng the Royal Albert Docks every June for the London Dragon Boat Races, but not many know about the origin of the tradition. In fact, the festival, known as Duanwu Jie in Chinese-speaking countries and regions, commemorates the heroism of Qu Yuan, the scholar-statesman who died for his country in 278 B.C. With grants from the Arts Council of England and Awards for All, The Meridian Society resurrected Qu Yuan on the day by staging a pageant led by the great Chinese patriot (performed by Hi Ching) in the company of members of The Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets and Forest Gate Youth Centre on gongs and drums.