Dragon Heads-raising Day (Longtaitou Festival)

Introduction

The Longtaitou Festival which means "dragon raises head" in Chinese is a traditional Chinese festival held on the second day of the second month in the Chinese lunar calendar. So,it's also called Eryueer Festival. Eryueer means the 2nd day of 2nd month in Chinese. In Chinese culture, the dragon is an auspicious animal that dominates clouds and rains. The 2nd day of the 2nd lunar month is thought to be the day that dragon awakes and raises its head according to the Chinese folk legend. So the day is called Dragon Heads-raising Day. And there is a poplar Chinese idiom "二月二, 龙抬头" (èr yuè èr, lóng táitóu) which means ‘On the second day of the second lunar month, dragon raises its head’. After the day, spring is coming and there will be more and more rains. People think these credits go to the dragon. So the day is also called Spring Dragon Festival. Since the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD), Chinese people have had the custom of spending the Spring Dragon Festival.

Date of The Dragon Heads-raising Day

The Dragon Heads-raising Day falls on the 2nd day of the 2nd lunar month. In Gregorian calendar, it usually falls in late February or in March. The following chart shows the exact dates for the festival from 2017 to 2020:
Year Date of Dragon Heads-raising Day
2017 February 27th
2018 March 18th
2019 March 8th
2020 February 24th

Traditions and Customs

The most popular custom on the Dragon Heads-raising Day is cutting hair. Dragon is highly esteemed for its dignity and power for good. It is thought to be auspicious to cut hair on the Dragon Heads-raising Day. Luck and opportunities will always knock you in the year. So, on that day, barbershops' businesses are prospering and full of customers. According to the Chinese tradition, it's bad luck to cut hair during the first lunar month. As the Chinese saying goes ‘If you cut your hair in the first lunar month, your uncle will die.' So, people usually cut hair before the first lunar month and wait to the Dragon Heads-raising Day to cut again.

 

The most common foods for celebrating the festival are popcorns, pancakes, noodles, dumplings, fired soy beans and pig's head. People in different areas have different traditions about the food on the day. In Beijing, people eat Lvdagunr (Glutinous Rice Rolls with Sweet Bean Flour) and spring pancakes on the day. 

In Shanxi, people like to eat fried dough twists and pancakes. In Shandong, fried soy beans, noodles and dumplings are the festival food. In Fuzhou, the salted porridge made of glutinous rice, celery, scallion, garlic, fry dried shrimps and shredded meat is eaten.


To be auspicious, what people eat on the Dragon Heads-raising Day is usually renamed after parts of the dragon. Eating dumplings is called eating "dragon's ears," spring pancakes are called "dragon's scales," rice is called "dragon's son", wontons are "dragon's eyes", pancake is the "dragon scale bing", noodles are "dragon beard noodles", and fried dough twists are "dragon's bones", etc. These show people's hope to be blessed with favorable weather and bumper grain harvest by the dragon.

In some places people go to suburb for relaxing on the day. Also some people worship to the dragon or earth god with the hope that there would be rains helping the agriculture.  

In some rural areas, the day is also called the daughters' day. On the day, the married daughters would come home and stay for some days to accompany their parents. Later, they will come back to help with crops planting.

Taboos to Be Avoided

On the Dragon Heads-raising Day, women are not allowed to do needle work. As the dragon will raise its head to look towards the earth, people thinks needles may hurt its eyes. In some places, washing clothes is also a taboo to be avoided. This is afraid of hurting dragon's skin.

Legend

There is a legend about why people eat popcorns on Heads-raising Day. It is said that the Jade Emperor was unhappy that China had a female emperor Wu Zetian in Tang Dynasty. He ordered to the dragon kings to stop raining for three years to punish China. Couldn't bear to see the humans starved to death, the dragon king in charge of the heaven river made a heavy rain secretly. After knowing this, the Jade Emperor expelled him from the heavenly palace and pressed him under a mountain with a stele written ‘The dragon king violated the law of heaven. Unless golden beans bloom, he couldn't be saved'.

To save the dragon king, people tried to find the gold beans everywhere. The next year, on the second day of the second lunar month, when people were drying the corn seeds under the sun, they found the corn seeds looked like gold beans. They heated them and made popcorn to let the golden beans bloom. After knowing the people tried to save him, the dragon king raised its head and shouted to the Jade Emperor to see the golden beans bloom in families. After seeing this, the Jade Emperor was allowed to return to the heavenly palace and in charge of making wind and rain agian. From then on, there is the custom of eating popcorns (or fried soy beans in some places) on the 2nd day of the 2nd lunar month.

More Traditional Chinese Festivals:

Chinese Spring Festival      Laba Festival      Lantern Festival      Qingming Festival      Dragon Boat Festival      Ghost Festival       The Double Ninth Festival         Mid-Autumn Festival      Double Seventh Festival      Winter Solstice

Chinese Calendar

SuMoTuWeThFrSa
28
二十/20
29
廿一/21
30
廿二/22
31
廿三/23
1
廿四/24
2
廿五/25
3
廿六/26
4
廿七/27
5
廿八/28
6
廿九/29
7
三十/30
十月 (Oct)
8
初一/1
9
初二/2
10
初三/3
11
初四/4
12
初五/5
13
初六/6
14
初七/7
15
初八/8
16
初九/9
17
初十/10
18
十一/11
19
十二/12
20
十三/13
21
十四/14
22
十五/15
23
十六/16
24
十七/17
25
十八/18
26
十九/19
27
二十/20
28
廿一/21
29
廿二/22
30
廿三/23
1
廿四/24

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