Zhonghe Festival, also known as the Blue Dragon Festival, has been an official festival since the Tang and Song Dynasties, and is celebrated on the first day of the second month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It celebrates the waking of the dragon that brings rain. This holiday is closely related with the ancient Chinese agricultural culture. Chinese farmers superstitiously believe that celebrating the Blue Dragon Festival can ensure a good harvest next season with “favorable rainfall and great plowing conditions”. This traditional holiday/festival is supposed to welcome the earliest signs of spring. In 2018, the Zhonghe Festival is on March 18th. In some rural areas, the day is also called the daughters day. On the day, the married daughters would come home and stay for some days to accompany their parents. Later, they will come back to help with crops planting.
Zhonghe Festival is no longer popularly celebrated in modern Chinese society. People from outside of China have rarely even heard of this festival. Though in China dragon is highly esteemed for its dignity and power for good and some people even go to local temples to worship local Dragon God or Land God.
Those who still celebrate this festival will usually get a haircut on that day because they believe they can receive luck from Dragon by cutting their hair – it is thought to be auspicious to cut hair on the Dragon Heads-raising Day. Luck and opportunities will always knock you in the year. So, on that day, barbershops’ businesses are prospering and full of customers. According to the Chinese tradition, it’s bad luck to cut hair during the first lunar month.
People are likely to clean their house and eat “dragon foods”- dumplings, pancakes, noodles etc. Dumplings symbolize “dragon’s ears”, Chinese doughnuts are “dragon bones,” pancakes represent “dragon’s scales” and noodles -“dragon’s beard”. Spring pancakes are called “dragon’s scales,” rice is called “dragon’s son”, wontons are “dragon’s eyes”, pancake is the “dragon scale bing”, noodles are “dragon beard noodles”, and fried dough twists are “dragon’s bones” etc. These show people’s hope to be blessed with favorable weather and bumper grain harvest by the dragon.
The most common foods for celebrating the festival are popcorn, pancakes, noodles, dumplings, fried soy beans and pig’s head. People in different areas have different traditions about the food on the day. For example in Beijing, people eat Lvdagunr (Glutinous Rice Rolls with Sweet Bean Flour) and spring pancakes. In Shanxi, people like to eat fried dough twists and pancakes. In Shandong, fried soy beans, noodles and dumplings are the festival food. In Fuzhou, the salted porridge made of glutinous rice, celery, scallion, garlic, fry dried shrimps and shredded meat is eaten.