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The traditional ritual of ‘Awakening the Dragon.' After an exciting display of Lion dancing and a serene Buddhist blessing of the fleet, monks will perform an eye-dotting ceremony to awaken the dragon and bring out its fire. This gives the boats and their crews the strength of the dragon.

The Legend of Qu Yuan (332-277 BC) gives us an idea of how dragon boating began.

 Qu Yuan, a great poet descended from the imperial family and is one of China's foremost famous scholars.
Qu Yuan was a statesman and diplomat for the Chu Emperor, but his objection to the use of force led him to fall out of the king's favour and was dismissed from office and banished, never to return to power.

Humiliated and living in exile, the ever patriotic Qu Yuan, tragically drowned himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

When the villagers heard of his suicide, they took to their boats, beating drums and their paddles on the water to frighten fish and water dragons away and prevent them from eating their fallen poet. Rice dumplings were thrown into the river, as a sacrifice to Qu Yuan, and to prevent the fish from eating his body, so giving him immortality.

Chinese tradition commemorates the death of Qu Yuan each year at the Dragon Boat festival, when respect is paid to the dragon, ruler of the water.
Today dragon boat ‘eye-dotting’ and ‘waking the dragon’ ceremonies draw on details from this legend.