OFFICIAL NAME: Double Ninth Festival (重九節)
ALSO CALLED: Chong Yang Festival (重陽節)
COUNTRY/S: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam
DATE: 9th day of the 9th lunar month
The Double Ninth Festival derived its name from the date it is celebrated, on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (Double Nine). Its is also called Chong Yang Festival, a day of two
Yang (9) numbers. Chong means double in Chinese. Yang is from the traditional Chinese
theory of two opposing principles in nature, Yin and Yang. Even numbers are Yin and odd numbers are Yang.
During this festival, people drink chrysanthemum wine and eat chrysanthemum cakes. They
also carry a spray of herb called dogwood. Both chrysanthemum and dogwood have
medicinal properties and is believed to drive away evil spirits and prevent one from getting a chill in late autumn.
Based on Chinese tradition, nine is the highest odd digit, two nine digits signify longevity. The ninth day of the ninth month has become a special day for people to pay their respects to the elderly by visiting the graves of their ancestors. It is also a day for the elderly to enjoy themselves and has been declared China’s Day for the Elderly.
In Hong Kong, whole extended families head to ancestral graves to clean them, repaint inscriptions, and lay out food offerings such as roast suckling pig and fruit, which are then eaten (after the spirits have consumed the spiritual element of the food).
It is also a day to go outdoors. The festival is held on autumn and is perfect for outdoor activities. Many go hiking and climbing to celebrate the last outing of the year before the onset of winter.
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