According to Chinese Legend, 2,000 years ago there lived a noble man who was favored by many. In his attempt to give advice to the king, he was rejected and banished from the court.
Troubled by the atrocities taking place, the noble man jumped into a river and took his life. Fisherman raced their boats to save him, but arrived too late. Today, the Dragon Boat Festival serves as a re-enactment of that fateful day.
The event, hosted at the site of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games rowing and paddling events, featured an opening ceremony with monks dotting the eye of the dragon and bringing it to life.
Filled to capacity this year, the Atlanta Dragon Boat Festival is hoping to make the festival a two-day long event next year.
The festival, held every year at Lake Lanier, features breast cancer awareness organizations and competitive teams that participate in the 250 meter race.
Members of the Mercer Asian Society and Interest Association (ASIA) participated in the 15th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, placing fifth in the collegiate level.
Mei Lin, president of Mercer Asia, said, “I heard about it through friends who went to other schools. They were talking about the Dragon Boat Festival, and I thought hey why doesn’t Mercer do this? This sounds interesting.”
Only the top six schools were ranked, which included: Kennesaw State, Georgia Perimeter, Georgia Tech, The University of Georgia, Gwinnett Technical College and Mercer University.
Mercer ASIA vice president Ashley Chackalayil said, “One of our main goals was doing the dragon boat festival, and thankfully we accomplished that. When people think of Asia they only think China. We want them to realize that there is a huge variety of countries in Asia.”
Mercer ASIA aims to incorporate the Asian culture within the Mercer community.
“We felt like Mercer was lacking an Asian club, because Georgia Tech, The University of Georgia and a lot of big schools have it. It is for students who are interested in the Asian culture. We felt like Mercer needed more culture,” said Chackalayil.
Started just last January, Mercer ASIA has hosted events such as sushi night and the mid-Autumn festival.
“People came and made their own sushi roll and then we watched an Asian movie. We celebrated the Chinese New Year when we first started the club in January,” said Lin.
Chinese New Year is considered one of the most important traditional Chinese holidays. In China it is known as “Spring Festival.:
This organization is not limited to their on-campus endeavors, as they continuously play an active role by participating in initiatives off campus as well.
With nearly 23 members participating in the festival, the organization was surprised at their win.
“We did not stay until the end, so we did not find out we placed until the next day,” said Lin.
Mercer ASIA hopes to spread awareness about their initiatives on campus through this victory.
“Other than celebrate the different holidays in the Asian culture, we want to help the community as well. We really want to get our name out there,” said Lin.
Support this budding organization as they continue to incorporate cultural diversity on campus!
Mercer ASIA fifth at Dragon Boat Festival