Abreast Of Life Dragon Boat Team
Central Vancouver Island
The flower ceremony has become an important tradition in breast cancer survivor Dragon Boat racing. Immediately following the breast cancer survivor races, survivor teams come together in a place on the water where the audience on shore can be part of the flower ceremony, and the boats are rafted together.
Usually a commentator, often a breast cancer survivor, will say a few words about breast cancer awareness, the importance of celebrating the lives of survivors, of offering hope to those still battling cancer, and of honouring those who tragically have lost the battle to the disease.
When the music begins, each paddler raises a pink flower above her head and holds the hand of a fellow paddler in the next boat. With flowers raised, the paddlers sway to the music, and the audience on shore, many of whom have relatives and friends affected by the disease, raise their flowers and sway with the paddlers. At a signal, the paddlers and those on the shore toss the pink flowers on the water, both to celebrate survival, and to remember those who did not survive.
The flower ceremony has become a very meaningful ritual for paddlers and audience alike.
Originally published by Island Breaststrokers