Also known as the Longtaitou Festival, the Blue Dragon Festival is a celebration of the earliest signs of spring. This year, it takes place on Monday, February 27. Each year, you can expect it to fall anywhere between February 21 and March 21 (the second day of the second lunar month).
Translating to “dragon raising its head,” this Longtaitou reference illustrates a unique animal that controls all creatures as well as the rains. That’s why farmers in particular celebrate this important annual date: they want more rainfall for the upcoming agricultural season so their crops are plenty. This wish for an optimal harvest season is a primary one among farmers in rural areas; therefore, you won’t typically see this festival being celebrated much past the countryside, in the major cities or outside of China.
The Chinese have been celebrating this festival since the Tang Dynasty. It can also be celebrated in conjunction with the Zhonghe Festival, celebrated the first day of the second month on the Chinese calendar.
In ancient times, it was also thought that the Blue Dragon Festival was the time to fumigate and kill off all the insects that were thought to arise from their hibernation. People would burn herbs that had high insect repellent properties.
Traditions during the Blue Dragon Festival include:
- Cleaning the home: Because this festival occurs past Chinese New Year, it’s OK to clean up the house without clearing the luck that came with that holiday.
- Haircuts: While it’s not good luck to get a haircut during the first lunar month, many people young and old get a hair cut during the second lunar month. By taking care of this personal hygiene chore on the Blue Dragon Festival, you are welcoming the creature’s power into your own life.
- Celebrate with food: Traditionally, people eat dumplings (dragon ears), pancakes (dragon scales), and noodles (dragon beards) to show their hope for a plentiful harvest season. They also treat themselves to popcorn (golden beans), fried soybeans, rice rolls, salted porridge, and pig’s head.
What to Avoid
There are also some things that should be avoided on Blue Dragon Festival Day. Not everyone still follows these traditions, of course. But here they are:
- Needlework: It is feared that those needles could hurt the dragon’s eyes when he rears his head toward the Earth.
- Clothes washing: Also taboo, as it could harm the skin of the dragon.
- Spreading plant ashes around the house and earthen jug: This welcomes the dragon to bring rain.
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