Thursday, September 24, 2009

Buddhist Monks Awaken Dragons

SAN FRANCISCO (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Nothing wakes a dragon quite like a blessing from a Buddhist monk.

The San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival is bringing 110 teams into town this weekend (Sep. 26-27) to race 45-foot-long boats shaped like dragons.

To ensure that each team’s dragon is in top physical and spiritual shape for the race, Buddhist monks are brought in to perform a traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony.

Festival director Linda Cheu explains, “It’s a purification ceremony. They dot the eyes on the dragon head and awaken the dragon. It makes them more competitive.”

If any other negative forces may be plotting against the racers, lion dancers are on hand performing ritual dances to “scare away all the evil spirits” that may be lurking around.

Cheu calls dragon boat racing the “ultimate team sport” because success and speed don’t come from brawn but rather from working together to paddle quickly.

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