A poignant ceremony focusing on cancer survivors, supporters and those who have passed away returned to Shuswap Lake this past weekend.
The annual Carnation Ceremony took place on Saturday, June 18 in Marine Peace Park.
Although the Shuswap Dragon Boat Festival was cancelled in 2022, the Shuswap Rowing and Paddling Club held a revised ceremony without the races, but still honouring the teams.
Dragon boat cancer survivors from Fort Langley, Kamloops, Revelstoke, Vernon and the Shuswap attended.
The club writes that the Carnation Ceremony is a worldwide tradition in dragon boat festival and race culture. The ceremony offers an opportunity to survivors and supporters to recognize those who have been diagnosed, are in remission, live day to day with cancer and those who have passed away.
It dates back to 1996 in Vancouver, when a paddler picked bright pink roses from her garden to give to fellow paddlers to toss into the water after a race as a way to honour a cancer survivor member who could not participate. Soon after, the tradition evolved in the dragon boat community as a symbol of love and respect for all the women and men involved.
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