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Longtaitou Festival 2022

On that day people worship dragon hoping for good harvest and rains


Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin
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Longtaitou Festival, also called Dragon-Head-Raising Festival, Qinglong Festival, Longtou Festival, or Double-Second Festival, is a Chinese folk traditional festival held on the second day of the second lunar month annually. This festival is the reflection of the Chinese agricultural traditions of the season. On this day, the temperatures start rising, rainfalls become frequent, and plants form buds. The season for spring plowing then arrives. Since ancient times, people regard this festival as a day of praying for a good harvest, pleasant weather, and good luck.

The name of Longtaitou comes from the ancient astronomy. Seven groups in the eastern sky resemble the shape of a dragon. In winter, the whole 'dragon' is hidden behind the northern horizon. However, between two of the solar terms named the Waking of Insects (惊蛰 ‘Jing Zhe’) and the Spring Equinox (春分 ‘Chun Fen’), two stars in one of the seven groups, which represent the dragon horns, can be seen above the southern horizon. At this time, the body of the dragon still hides below the horizon, so people call this day ‘Longtaitou’ (龙抬头) which means 'dragon raises its head'.

The Chinese consider dragon to be a symbol of luck and a ruler of the wind and rain on the earth, thus, people hold worships and offer food in the dragon temple to pray for rainfalls and good harvest. Other traditional activities such as eating noodles, eating the head of the pig, and cutting hair to start a new season are also widespread on this day. The food at this festival is called differently from their original name, as all are associated with the dragon. For example, noodles are named as "dragon moustache", and dumplings are called as the "dragon ears."

The customs are slightly different across the regions of China. Most traditional celebrations take place in the northern parts of China. In some places, you might be lucky to witness the dragon dance. Areas in the south of China commonly hold worships for the gnome (god of earth) as this day is also the birthday of the mythical dwarf. Especially in Macau, people organise the feast of the God Tou Tai, who is the 'God of Earth.' People in Beijing would run activities for expelling worms by lighting the candles or tapping some special places in the house.

In East China's Fujian province people eat tofu balls and pray for family and business during the festival. In some parts of Shandong province on the east coast of China, people traditionally cook fried beans for the occasion. In Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province is known for eating chengyao cakes made with sticky rice.

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