Colorado Dragon Boat Festival will honor victims of Aurora theater shootings

The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival will pay tribute to the victims of the Aurora movie theater shootings tomorrow during the opening ceremony.

See Also: -Colorado Dragon Boat Festival returns this weekend -Slideshow: The 9th Annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival - A TO ZEN Buddhist monks of the Chung Tai Zen Study Group of Denver will perform a chanted tribute for the victims, followed by a traditional Chinese Eye-Dotting Ceremony to awaken the spirit of the dragons. This ritual is just one of several spiritual elements in the festival, to bless the boats and racers of the Dragon Boat competition.

Gil Asakawa, spokesman for the festival, says the tribute will offer a different, Buddhist perspective on the tragedy. "Buddhists have a different view on death, violence and being non-violent," says Asakawa. "It will be powerful and beautiful. It's a small thing that's worth doing."

The opening ceremony will also include a unique dance to commemorate the Year of the Water Dragon. It will feature a double dragon dance, performed by students of the Boulder-based Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu Academy, in two 75-foot long dragon costumes.

The event is free and open to the public, beginning at 10 a.m.

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