Double Ninth Festival, the Chongyang

What, and when is the Double Ninth Festival?

What's special about the Double Ninth Festival?

When and how did the Double Ninth Festival originate?

Customs and traditions for celebrating the Double Ninth Festival.

What, and when is the Double Ninth Festival?

 

Double Ninth Festival, also named Chongyang Festival, Elder's Festival, or Chrysanthemum Festival, is a traditional holiday to worship ancestors, and to show respect to elders. 

 

It is on the 9th of September of the Chinese Traditional Calendar

What's special about the Double Ninth Festival?

In Yin-Yang theory, nine is the greatest Yang number; double ninth day, the day of extremely Yang would turn to the opposite, meaning the beginning and rising of Yin. Therefore, the 9th of September had been considered unlucky in history.  

In ancient Chinese Astrology, Heart Lunar Fox (also named Fire of Heaven), one of the Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions, descent on the 9th month of the Traditional Chinese Calendar. It represents the end of Autumn and the beginning of winter.

When and how did the Double Ninth Festival originate?

In ancient China, people would hold grand sacrifice ceremonies to worship heaven and ancestors on this day to celebrate the harvest and pray for blessings, when most farm works are finished, and the winter is coming. 

During the Three Kingdoms, Jin Dynasty, North and South Dynasties (220 — 589), celebrating the Double Ninth Festival spread from royals to civilians.

 

Till the Tang Dynasty (618 — 907), it was set as a national festival and has been popularized since then. 

Since "nine" sounds the same as eternality in Chinese, and it has been an important festival of worshipping ancestors, in recent years, the Double Ninth was regulated as the Elders' Festival, to show respect and care to aged people.

Customs and traditions for celebrating the Double Ninth Festival

 

  • Worship ancestors, hold activities for elders such as big feasts and pray for their longevity. 

  • Mountaineer and hike. In ancient times, mysterious mountains were believed as auspicious places that deities are living; hence, people went climbing to escape from bad lucks on the Double Ninth.

 

Later, enjoying the view of autumn and having a picnic in nature became popular.

  • Drink Chrysanthemum Wine, and eat Chrysanthemum Cake. 

  • Hang or wear cornel leaves, which is believed could exorcise evilness and disease. 

  • Appreciate chrysanthemum with family and friends. 

The Chrysanthemum is the lucky flower of September of Traditional Chinese Calendar, as the representative of longevity, strong, and noble. 

  • Bask Autumn, also named Shai Qiu, which people put harvest food under the sun to eliminate moisture and make them easy to preserve.

  • Eat Double Ninth cake, also named Chongyang Cake, Five-Color Cake, or Flower Cake. 

It is a type of sticky cake with many layers, decorated with colorful beans, flowers, seasonal fruits, and nuts. 

Ingredients and cooking methods differ geographically. 

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