Ottawa City Guide BLOG: Fire breathing dragon boat

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Before reading up on the subject, I always considered the dragon boat to be a war ship historically. I thought the Norse Karve – what with the teams of oarsmen – was a European version; warriors propelling themselves over rough seas, on route to clash boats.

It turns out I wasn't far off. The ancient Chinese raced these long boats as a way to honour the dragon, the mythical creature that controls the rain and the force of the water already on Earth. The celebrations got serious though, when sacrifices were made. If a boat tipped, the people that fell in were not helped, as it was seen to be jinxing fate. Paddlers would literally battle as well, either with stones or stalks of bamboo, any deaths occurring being seen as gifts to the Gods, ensuring prosperous crops.

Continue reading the full post at Ottawa City Guide

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