The Dragon Boat Race, which was a part of Riau Islands Marine Festival, was opened with Makan Sirih traditional dance performed by seven female dancers, dressed up in red-colored Malay traditional costumes.
Tanjung Pinang mayor Lis Darmansyah explained that Dragon Boat Race was first held in 1992, previously named Bintang Dragon Boat Race. “The Dragon Boat Race came from a tradition of one of the ethnic groups in Tanjung Pinang,” Lis said.
A total of 42 teams from Indonesia and Malaysia competed in Tanjung Pinang International Dragon Boat Race that was held at Carang River, Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands on Oct. 21.
In the early days, the race was always held on the ocean but since 2014, Carang River has been appointed as the main location for the race. The river was chosen due to its calmer waters and no ship traffic. “There’s a ruin of the Malay kingdom located near Carang River called Rebah City Castle site,” Lis added.
Apart from the race, the festival also featured other competitions such as kayaking, middle school yel-yel (cheer chants) competition and a barongsai (Chinese dragon dance) performance.
The committee had prepared a total prize of 150 million rupiahs for winners of the Dragon Boat Race and 15 million rupiahs for winners of the Kayaking competition.
Meanwhile, winners of the yel-yel (cheer chants) competition received gifts from sponsors.