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Chinese Culture: 二月二,龙抬头 Dragon Raising Its Head

Feb. 22, 2012

Key Learning Points (Preview):

抬 (tái): v. to lift/raise


理发 (lǐfà): v. to have a haircut


In North China, there is a saying that goes "二月二,龙抬头 (èr yuè èr, lóng tái tóu) The Dragon Raises Its Head." It signals the arrival of spring, the beginning of all life, and the start of the farming season. It is also called "春龙节 (Chūnlóngjié) Spring Dragon festival."

There is a legend about the origin of this festival. Once, in ancient China, it didn't rain for a very long time. So, the Jade Emperor ordered the young dragon in the East Sea to make it rain. But the young dragon was busy playing in the water and wouldn't come out. A young man, after going through innumerable trials and hardships, eventually found a way to subdue the young dragon, and successfully got him out of the water so that he could make rain. That's why people have coined this day "春龙节 (Chūnlóngjié) Spring Dragon festival."

Each year on this day, a lot of traditional activities are held in North China. The most popular one is "二月二,剃龙头 (èr yuè èr, tì lóng tóu) getting a haircut." People think "剃头 (tìtóu)" or "理发 (lǐfà)" getting a hair cut on this day can bring them good luck. Therefore, this day is the busiest day for barbershops in northern China. Also, besides getting a haircut, people celebrate the festival of the Spring Dragon by eating traditional foods such as noodles, pancakes, fried cakes, popcorn and so on. Traditional food on this day is mainly named after the "龙 (lóng) dragon." For example, having pancakes is also known as "吃龙鳞 (chī lónglín) having dragon scales," having noodles is also known as "扶龙须 (fú lóngxū) holding dragon whiskers."

All in all, people all have the same wish: that everything will go smoothly in the upcoming year.

Key Learning Points:

抬 (tái): v. to lift/raise


"抬 (tái)" is used as a verb that means to lift/raise in Chinese. It is also used to form the frequently-used phrase "抬爱 (tái'ài)favor" and "抬杠 (táigàng) to argue for the sake of arguing."


Bié wán le, kuài lái bāng wǒ bǎ zhège tái qǐlái.
别    玩  了,快  来  帮     我  把   这个  抬起来。


Stop playing and help me lift this.

Chéng méng jīnglǐ tái'ài, wǒ yídìng huì jìxù nǔlì de.
承         蒙     经理 抬爱,我  一定   会  继续努力的。


Thank you, sir. I will continue to work hard.

Gēge zǒngshì xǐhuan hé wǒ táigàng.
哥哥   总是      喜欢     和  我  抬杠。


My brother likes to argue with me for the sake of arguing.


理发 (lǐfà): v. to get a haircut



      Jīntiān shì èr yuè èr, wǒmen qù lǐfà ba.
Dan: 今天  是 二  月  二,我们    去理发吧。


      Today is the 2nd of February. Let's get a haircut.

      Hǎo a.
Jim: 好 啊。




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wow. this blog is truly a gold mine. i will actually try these tips and let you know how they work out! thanks again mate.

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