The Dragon Head-raising Festival (Mandarin: Longtaitou or Er Yue Er) falls on the second day of the second month on the Chinese lunar calendar. Dragon is seen an animal of prosperity, master of rainfall by Chinese. According to legend, the second day of the second lunar month is the time when dragon awakes and raises its head, marking the arrival of spring and rainfall in the fields.
Traditions of the Dragon Head-raising Festival
Would like a hair cut？Please get off your monthly routine, try to leave your hair the way it is till the dragon head-raising festival. It’s a big day for hair salons where long queues are expected, all coming for a haircut that is traditionally said to bring good luck and fortune into the whole year.
Correspondingly, typical food on this festival is renamed after dragon, e.g., dumplings as dragon ears, spring pancakes as dragon scales, wontons as dragon eyes, noodles as dragon beards, and fried dough twists as dragon bones, etc.
In some rural areas, the day is also called the Daughters’ Day. On this day, the married daughters would come back to stay with their parents for a few days.
Traditionally, on the Dragon Head-raising Day, people are not supposed to do needle work, which might hurt the dragon’s eyes when it raises its head and looks around.
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 the dragon kings to stop raining for three years to punish China. Couldn’t bear to see people starve to death, the dragon king in charge of the heaven river made a secret rainfall. Knowing this, the Jade Emperor expelled him from the heavenly palace and locked him under a mountain with a stele read “The dragon king violated the law of heaven. Unless golden beans bloom, he couldn’t be free’.
To save the dragon king, people searched for gold beans everywhere. The next year, on the second day of the second lunar month, when people were drying the corn seeds in the sun, they found the corn seeds look like gold beans. They heated them and made popcorns to let the golden beans “bloom”. Knowing the people’s efforts, the dragon king raised its head and called to the Jade Emperor to see the golden beans bloom. At last, the dragon king was set free and allowed back to the heavenly palace and resume its charge of wind and rain. To pay tribute to the dragon king, there has been the folk custom of making popcorns (or fried soy beans in some places) on this day.