Dragons several hundred metres long snake made their way down pastoral roads and through country hamlets, part of centuries-old Chinese folk celebrations for a mythical creature revered as a blessing.

The visually striking festival is among a range of colourful traditional observances unique to eastern Fujian province and its Hakka people and holds each year in conjunction with the Lantern Festival, which fell this year on February 11.

The dragon is believed to scare off bad luck and bring the rains needed by farming communities.

The giant beast is carried by dozens of local men through farms and villages.