Sammamish celebrates Dragon Boat Festival with culture-filled event
On June 4, Sammamish residents enjoyed a showcase of Chinese culture.
Vibrant performances, martial arts demonstrations, traditional music, and visual arts all took place at Central Washington University (CWU) campus. This was part of the city’s celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival.
Visitors had many activities to choose from, ranging from performances in the gym to different games and Chinese traditions set up around the main building. Many of these activities were rooted in the cultural customs surrounding this Chinese holiday.
In 2018, CWU’s administrative staff, Skyline High School’s team of world language teachers and students, Sammamish Chinese School, WaHaHa Youth Club, World Taekwondo Academy, Sammamish Community YMCA, and the City of Sammamish formed a committee to promote cultural diversity in the area.
“We want people to come out and enjoy these different cultural events that we have so that people can intermingle because we’re all about diversity, inclusion, and equity,” Chris Jordan, the city’s recreation and cultural services manager, said.
The committee had originally planned to organize a Lunar New Year festival this year. However, this event was postponed due to the omicron wave over the winter.
COVID-19’s impact could still be felt at the June event. Only 14 activity boosters participated, whereas normally, up to 25 boosters would show up, according to Jordan.
“The biggest thing is that we try to bring everything together and then have performances and kick off the event. So we’re just trying to do as much as possible with the performances and activity boosters to bring the cultures that are associated with this event to people,” said Jordan.
There was still a good amount of variety in the performances thanks to the diverse organizations and groups that participated. WaHaHa Youth Club performed beautiful Chinese group dances and original songs.
Echo Pipa Studio organized a traditional Pipa ensemble performance, showcasing the unique sound of this Chinese instrument.
The International Lion Dance Team performed an extraordinary Lion Dance.
Wangpei Vocal Art Performing Center organized a solo and a duet about pear blossoms.
Various games were also offered to pique visitors’ interests. This included the Pitch-Pot game, which involves throwing arrows into a bucket from a required distance, and ring toss, which challenged players to throw a ring onto a traffic cone from a distance. Winners received prizes such as candies and lion toys.
Visitors could also try their hand at creating origami boats, rice dumplings, Chinese hand fans, and paper crafts in the shape of lions or dragons.
Although the event was focused on celebrating a Chinese holiday, there was also a Korean presence. A powerful taekwondo demonstration was performed by World Tae Kwon Do Center: Sammamish Martial Arts. There was also a display of written names in Hangul, or Korean characters, along with calligraphy.