the longtaitou festival, also known as the er yue er festival (二月二), is one of the traditional chinese festivals, which is held on the second day of the second month of the chinese calendar. the festival is a reflection of the ancient agrarian chinese culture. in the tradition of chinese culture, the dragon is believed to be the king of all creatures and the ancestor of human beings, also believed to be in charge of bringing rains.
so, what do chinese people do to celebrate this day specifically?
pray for a golden harvest
in ancient agrarian societies, farming was highly reliant on the weather. proper rainfall and plenty of sunlight were necessary for a good harvest at the end of the year. the chinese dragon, besides its connotations for good luck and supreme power, is also the god managing weather and water.
so dragon head-raising day is about honoring the chinese dragon and praying for good weather in spring, the key time for plowing the fields.
there are several explanations behind the name, "dragon head-raising." one is to do with astrology: at the beginning of the second lunar month, a star called the "dragon horn" appears just above the horizon line at dusk, but the rest of the "dragon body" can't be seen yet.
another saying - also the most common one - is that the raising of the dragon's head symbolizes the waking of life from hibernation. from this day on, insects and animals appear more often, ready to begin their life for another year.
get a new haircut
since it's a folk taboo in traditional chinese culture to have a haircut in zheng yue, the first lunar month, dragon head-raising day is the first time in the new year to have a haircut. getting a haircut in spring is a way to embrace the new year with a new look. doing it today is also believed to bless children with good health and adults with prosperity throughout the year.
chinese people have the custom of spreading ash around their houses, courtyards, and also their hearths and water tanks on this day. it's a technique called "introducing the dragon", done as a prayer for health and good luck.
in fact, the ash is also good for killing pests and poisonous insects, which stir in spring and damage the crops.
name food after the dragon
food eaten on this day also gets a lucky name. dumplings are called "dragon's ears". rice is called "dragon's roes". wontons are "dragon's eyes". pancakes are"dragon's scales". eating noodles is said to be "holding the dragon's whiskers".
er yue er, dragon raises its head, and the propitious omen just appears~