Eryue’er, Festival when great dragons raise heads
Eryue’er is a traditional Chinese festival for many ethnic groups, including Han, Li, Miao, Zhuang, Man, Dong and other smaller ethnic groups. It literally means February 2 of the Chinese lunar calendar. The earliest record about this festival can be found in Tang Dynasty (618—907AD). Bai Juyi, a great poet of Tang Dynasty wrote a poem saying: “On Eryue’er, the first rounds of spring rain falls gently on the tender grass and vegetable; Along the X-shaped river banks, lightly-dressed young people walk in single file with their yearlings.” People have fun on lawns and in woods to appreciating the beauty of spring on this festival. They also have some ceremony activities such as offering vegetables and fruits as a symbol of fortune to friends and relatives. From Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD), there were more dragon-related activities on this Festival. And this festival is also called Dragons-raise-heads Festival. In Chinese Mythology, the great dragons are in charge of rain and wind, which are of vital importance to agriculture. Therefore, people celebrate this festival to pray for good climate and harvests.
Hainan Island is surrounded by sea, which is the home of dragons in Chinese Mythology. Therefore, the worship to dragons is extremely popular and important here. Every coastal village has a temple of the great dragons for people to worship. The fishers also worship the great dragons and celebrate the Eryue’er Festival for good luck of fishing activities and fishing journey on the sea.
From 2005, on every Eryue’er (Dragons-raise-heads) Festival, there is a government organized grand ceremony to worship the great Dragons and the sea on the scenic spot of Daxiao Dongtian in Taoism Ways. Nowadays, in addition to the traditional praying for harvest and fortune, local people introduced new elements into activities, such as environmental-protection campaigns, on this festival. They believes that by celebrating the Dragons-raise-heads Festival, China will be more and more prosperous and Chinese people, who believe that they are the offspring of the great dragons, will enjoy happier life and well-to-do time.