Double Ninth Festival - Chinese Customs - Chinese Culture Guide - China Circulation Travel Service

Double Ninth Festival

Double Ninth Festival

Double Ninth Festival

Falling on the ninth day of the ninth month, the Double Ninth Festival is also known as Chong yang Festival because in the ancient mysterious book Yijing, the number 6 is stipulated as yin while 9 is Yang. In Chinese culture, 9 is a lucky number implying to be everlasting and longevity, hence, the Double Ninth Festival including two nine has been considered as an auspicious day should be celebrated since ancient China.

In Chinese, 9, which is sounds like” jiu” implies longevity. In 1989, China government stipulated the Double Ninth Festival as the senior’s day, advocating respecting the old people. Since then, the festival has added another meaning.

The activities held on the day are various. Since the day is at the golden season of autumn at which the scenery is very beautiful and the chrysanthemum are blossoming, traveling outside, appreciating chrysanthemum and drinking chrysanthemum wine are all popular and traditional activity. In addition, climbing the mountain and eating Chongyang cakes are also the main activities. The typical Chongyang cake is shaped at nine-storey pagoda with two man-made sheep on its peak, in order to match with the name of the festival” Chongyang”( In Chinese, Sheep is the homophone of Yang). There is other important activity, wearing dogwood, which was very popular in the past but almost die out today. It is said that wearing dogwood can ward off evil spirits. In fact, the dogwood is a kind of Chinese herbal so that saying was not totally out of reason. Wang Wei, One of the most prominent poets in Tang Dynasty has written poem to describe the custom of wearing dogwood on this festival, so we can speculate it was very popular in Tang Dynasty.

As other festivals have their own legends, the Double Ninth Festival is also not an exception. It is said that there was a man named Huan Jing in East Han Dynasty. One day, his hometown was suffered from a serious plague, of which many people including his parents died. He felt so sorrow that he made his mind to learn Kong Fu to kill the monster of plague. His coacher gave him a blue dragon sword and he learned and practised the skill day and night. One day, his coacher told him that the monster of plague would attack his hometown again on the ninth day of September. So the coacher asked him to kill the monster with giving him a bag of dogwood and a bottle of chrysanthemum wine. According to what the coacher has told him, he asked every person in his hometown to climb to a hill, wear the dogwood to ward off the monster and drink a mouth of chrysanthemum wine to prevent from infecting of plague. Finally he killed the monster with the blue dragon sword and the Kung Fu he had mastered.

You will find that most of the activities held on the festival are related to the legends, which make us can not help acclaiming the great wisdom of ancient Chinese.


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