The flower ceremony (or pink carnation ceremony) has become an inportant tradition in breast cancer survivor Dragon Boat racing.
Immediately following the breast cancer survivor races at a festival, survivor teams raft together in a place on the water where the audience on shore can be part of the ceremony.
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 the disease, and of honouring those who have tragically lost their battle with breast cancer.
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, as do the audience on shore, many who have relatives and friends affected by the disease.
At a signal, the paddlers and those on 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.
The Flower Ceremony in Australia 2007
Pink Carnation Ceremony - Nanaimo 2008