What is the Chinese Longtaitou Festival?

March 03, 2022

The Longtaitou Festival (龙抬头) is a traditional Chinese holiday that falls on the second day of the second month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

It was first celebrated in the Tang and Song dynasties and is also known as Chūngēng jié 春耕节 (Field Plowing Festival), Nóngshì jié 农事节 (Farming Festival), Chūn lóng jié 春龙节 (Spring Dragon Festival), and Èryuè’èr 二月二 (Second Day of the Second Month Festival).

What is the Longtaitou Festival?

The Longtaitou Festival is a traditional Chinese festival celebrating the first rains of spring and is a time for making offerings to the Dragon God for a good farming season ahead.

Rice terraces in China

Why is this Chinese festival called Longtaitou?

Lóng táitóu 龙抬头 means “dragon raising its head”. The Longtaitou Festival is so named because Longtaitou is believed to be the time when the dragon, the god of rain, awakens from its winter slumber, bringing the first rains of spring.

Longtaitou brings the first rains of spring

Why do people cut their hair on the Longtaitou Festival?

According to Chinese folklore, cutting hair during the first lunar month after the lunar new year brings bad luck (one saying even warns that your uncle will die if you cut your hair). Longtaitou is safely into the second lunar month, so it is customary to trim one’s hair to trim away bad luck.

Haircuts on Chinese longtaitou festival

How do Chinese people celebrate the Longtaitou Festival?

Besides cutting their hair, Chinese people celebrate the Longtaitou Festival by cleaning the house and burning various herbs in their homes to repel insects.

People may also eat traditional foods, such as spring rolls (called long lín 龙鳞 ‘dragon scales’), noodles (called lóng xū 龙须 ‘dragon beard’), dumplings (called lóng ěr 龙耳 ‘dragon ears’) and other foods involving the word “lóng 龙 (dragon)”.

People will also celebrate Longtaitou by offering sacrifices to the Earth god Tǔdì gōng 土地公. Paper burning, firecrackers, and dragon dances are also popular.

Chinese dragon dance glowing dragon

According to ancient tradition, women should carry sachets of herbs to repel insects and should not do any sewing (in case they accidentally stab the Dragon God’s eyes with their needle) on Longtaitou. Other ancient Longtaitou traditions include spreading the ashes of plants around the house, though these are not as common in the modern era.

Chinese Phrases Related to the Longtaitou Festival

Chinese characters Pinyin English
二月二,龙抬头。 Èr yuè èr, lóng táitóu. On the second day of the second month, the dragon raises its head.
正月剃头死舅舅。 Zhēngyuè tìtóu sǐ jiùjiu. If you cut your hair in the first lunar month, your uncle will die.
二月二,龙抬头,千家万户使耕牛。 Èr yuè èr, lóng táitóu, qiānjiā wànhù shǐ gēngniú. On the second day of the second month, every family sets the oxen to work.