Fire and water

Corey Leamon

The Asian American Cultural Center of Austin held its 13th annual Dragon Boat Festival on Lady Bird Lake on Saturday afternoon.

Twenty teams of 20 people each participated in the races, including groups from the Austin Police Department, H-E-B, 3M and UT’s Chinese Student Association. Throughout the day, visitors enjoyed Asian culture through food, dancing, drama and competition.

The Dragon Boat Festival is believed to have originated during the Warring States period of ancient China. Qu Yuan, a beloved Chinese poet, drowned himself to bring awareness to widespread government corruption. Fisherman raced the waters in their boats to find his body but were unable to find it.

Dragon Boat races commemorate Qu Yan through the spirit of teamwork.

Amy Wong Mok, the CEO of the center, looks to celebrate this ancient tradition of teamwork by sharing it with the Central Texas community as a family-oriented event.

“It is a way to get back to humanity as a global citizen,” Mok said. “If people start looking at each other’s humanity rather than their roles in the workplace, the world will be a better place.”