Chongyang Festival

chongyang festival

The Chongyang Festival falls on the ninth day of the nonth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, so it is also known as the Double Ninth Festival. As nine is pronounced ‘jiu’ meaning long in Chinese, so people endow the word jiu with the meaning of longevity with a person’s life. Chinese government declared Chongyang as a day for senior citizens, showing the respect for elders and hope them live longer. Most elderly people on that day would highly enjoy themselves while younger generations would send the elders gifts with blessing.
The festival is based on the theory of Yin and Yang, the two opposing principles in nature. Yin is feminine, negative principle, while Yang is masculine and positive. The ancients believed that all natural phenomena could be esplained by this theory. Numbers are related to this theory. Even numbers belong to Yin and odd numbers to Yang. The ninth day of the ninth lunar month is a day when the two Yang numbers meet. So it is called Chongyang. Chong means double in Chinese.Chongyang has been an important festival since ancient times.
The custom of ascending a height to avoid epidemics was passed down from long time ago. Therefore, the Double Ninth Festival is also called “Height Ascending Festival”. The festival is held in the golden season of autumn, at harvest -time. The bright clear weather and the joy of bringing in the harvest make for a festive happy atmosphere. The Double Ninth Festival is usually perfect for outdoor activities. Many people go hiking and climbing in the country, enjoying Mother Nature’s final burst of color before she puts on her dull winter cloak. Some will carry a spray of dogwood.
Chongyang Cake is a kind of steamed cake having two layers with nuts and jujube sandwiched between them. Gao (or cake) has the same pronunciation with gao in Chinese (means high), made of rice and chrysanthemum, symbolizing the progress and promotion for the next year. The wine drinking on this day also made of chrysanthemum, to ward off evil spirits and misfortunes. Also personal progress is thought to be made in the following days after eating the cake, for ‘high’ means that one makes improvements moving to a higher level.
Since nine is the highest odd digit, people take two of them together to signify longevity. Therefore, the ninth day of the ninth month has become a special day for people to pay their respects to the elderly and a day for the elderly to enjoy themselves. It has also been declared China’s day for the elderly.

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