The 2012 Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, which was held on 23 June, was celebrated at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour with great zeal, with the traditional Tuen Ng dragon boat races.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Tuen Ng, is a Chinese lunar holiday when boat races are held in Hong Kong and Macau rivers and lakes.

Participants splashed water about, enjoying themselves, as they rowed their dragon boats against the backdrop of the scenic harbor in Hong Kong on Saturday, as part of the celebration to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival.

The Dragon Boat Festival has been held for more than 2,000 years in China and has a long, colourful and proud history. The festival is celebrated annually to commemorate the death of legendry Chinese patriot Qu Yuan (339 BCE - 278 BCE), who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The festival happens every year on the same day of the same lunar month.

Legends have it that fishermen and nearby villagers tried to save Qu Yuan, who jumped into the river after realizing that his kingdom was occupied by corrupted people, from drowning but failed. Since his body could not be found, the villagers threw cooked rice in the river so that the fish wouldn't eat his body. Then Qu Yuan's spirit appeared to tell the villagers to wrap their rice into three-cornered silk packages to ward off the dragon; this gave rise to the custom of eating Zongzi - boiled rice tied with reed leaves - on Dragon Boat Festival days. The villagers' attempt to rush to Yuan's rescue in boats and to search for his body became the tradition of dragon boat racing over time and has been held for more than 2,000 years.

Check out below the pictures of Dragon Boat Festival 2012 held at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour and at a lake in Nanjing...

Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS
Participants splash water from their dragon boats as part of the celebration to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS
Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS
Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS
Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS
Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS
Paticipants row dragon boats as they compete in a race during Dragon Boat Festival celebration at a lake in Nanjing, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS
Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour, on 23 June, 2012.REUTERS