Saturday, July 07, 2007

NANAIMO HOSTS DRAGON 'SPIRIT'

The dragon boat festival was officially opened at Swy-a-lana Lagoon at 2 pm Friday. The event saw priests from the Ching Chung Taoist Church of Canada perform a ceremony whereby they ‘awaken the dragon and channel its energy into the boats’.

The history of dragon boat races is reported in wikipedia as follows:

Dragons are traditionally believed to be the rulers of rivers and seas and dominate the clouds and the rains of heaven. There are earth dragons, mountain dragons and sky or celestial dragons (Tian Long) in Chinese tradition.

It is believed sacrifices sometimes human were involved in the earliest boat racing rituals. During these ancient times, violent clashes between the crew members of the competing boats involved throwing stones and striking each other with bamboo stalks. Originally, paddlers or even an entire team falling into the water could receive no assistance from the onlookers as their misfortune was considered to be the will of the Dragon Deity which could not be interfered with. Those boaters who drowned were thought to have been sacrificed. That Qu Yuan sacrificed himself in protest through drowning speaks to this early notion.



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