Dotting the eyes is believed to protect the paddlers from evil spirits and disease for the rest of the year. The ancient ritual (called "Awakening the Dragon") is performed and the eyes of the dragon head are literally "dotted" as a symbol to awaken the spirit of the dragon.
Respected people are usually selected to dot the eyes of the dragon head. They should bow three times to the dragon head, then "dot" the eyes of the dragon. The ink used to dot the dragon eyes is red and is mixed with a scant amount of water from the river and even less than a scant amount of the earth you are standing on.
Food offerings such as rice or buckwheat may be thrown on the water and 'hell money' burnt.
The eye dotting ceremony is performed in countries around the world as a celebration to those who have battled and those we have lost but will always remember,