Traditional dragon boat ceremony performed at the Royal Docks

Edwin Liu performs a traditional eye dotting ceremony for the Windy Pandas dragon boat team on their

Edwin Liu performs a traditional eye dotting ceremony for the Windy Pandas dragon boat team on their new boat to keep away evil spirits and bring good luck. - Credit: Archant

An ancient Chinese tradition came to the Royal Docks on Saturday as a traditional eye dotting ceremony was performed.

Members of the Windy Pandas dragon boat club were present as their new vessel was prepared to take to the water for the first time.

Paul Coster, who coaches the team, said: “You can’t just put a new dragon boat in the water.

“You have to dot the eyes first, make offers to the Chinese water gods for safety.”

The colourful ceremony took place at the London Regatta Centre, where the team train.


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Despite stretching back more than 2,000 years, the sport of dragon boat racing only came to British shores in 1989.

Paul, who has represented the country as a paddler, said that it is something that is accessable to all.

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“You have to be in time with each other,” he said.

“Anyone can take part, regardless of age, gender or disability.

“We’ve had a group of Scouts beat a group of muscular, fully-grown men because the Scouts were more in time.”

The Windy Pandas originally started eight years ago as a competition team and members have travelled all over the world.

Next month, scores of dragon boats will be coming to the London Regatta Centre as it hosts the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.

Forty teams will battle it out for four cups on Sunday, June 28.

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