Dragon Boat Friday….
“The River Dragons must be angry” – this is what ancient Chinese thought when the rivers flooded. Ancient Chinese believed in Air Dragons, Water Dragons and Earth Dragons. They made offerings to the dragons to bring good rains for the crops. That is what the ancient Dragon Boat Festivals were for – they celebrated the coming of Summer – the 5th day of the 5th month – Summer solstice time.
This morning I was interviewed by Tasha Chiu of CityTV's Breakfast Television.
She asked me about the symbology of Chinese dragons, and how the early origins of dragon boat racing have changed from wooden dragon boat heads to foam heads, and from wooden teak boats to fibreglass – bringing this ancient ritual into the 21st Century.
Eye of the Dragon – the sight-impaired dragon boat team, also taught Tasha how to paddle, and do a race start. Anita Webster, communications director of the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, explained what was happening with multicultural festival in terms of 168 teams racing + lots of entertainment, and that for the 1st time in the festival's 19 year history…. it is now FREE!
So come down today to the site at 5:25pm… Watch the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team along with Cathay and Concord Pacific teams paddle Taoist Priests to the blessing site for the traditional “awaken the dragons” from their winter/spring hibernation. Watch the VIPs and dignateries “dot the eyes” with red paint – to “bring the dragons to life”.
Check out yesterday's Vancouver Sun with a Westcoast cover story about dragon boats.Teams put the paddle to the medal. There is a story inside of Andrea Dillon – coach of the False Creek Racing Canoe club mixed team, and Women's team – two of the top teams in the world. Andrea is the most inspiring dragon boat coach I have ever witnessed. In 2001, I was able to assist the False Creek Women's team prior to their travel to the World Championships in Philadelphia. I only attended a few practices, but I did do some steering, filming, and time-keeping for the team. What an honour! They are incredible.
And there is a story about Jennifer Breakspear and her novice team
“Sisters in Synch” – Vancouver's first lesbian dragon boat team. I knew Jennifer when… she showed up at Dragon Zone last year for Community paddle and helped teach her first paddle strokes in a dragon boat team. She joined the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team and raced her first races at the Lotus Sports Club's Bill Alley Memorial Race and at the False Creek Women's regatta. I knew then that she had tremendous paddling potential. We are proud of Jennifer's development and contribution to the paddling community. She is now the coordinator of Dragon Zone… so if you want to try paddling – come down to Dragon Zone, and ask Jennifer is she knows of any teams that are looking for paddlers.