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Chong Yang Festival (Double Ninth Festival)

By:Alice
Chong Yang Festival, a traditional Chinese festival, falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. In the folk concept, "nine" is the largest number in the number and has the meaning of long life. In 1989, the ninth day of the ninth lunar month was designated as "Day for the Old", advocating the whole society to respect, love and help the elderly.


Origin of Chong Yang Festival
The festival is based on the theory of Yin and Yang, two opposing principles in nature. Yin stands for negative and Yang for positive. In ancient times, people believed that all natural phenomena could be explained by this theory. Numbers are also relevant to this theory. Even Numbers belong to Yin; odd Numbers belong to Yang. The ninth day of the ninth lunar month is the day when two Yang numbers meet. So, it is called double ninth. "Chong" means double in Chinese. The Double Ninth Festival has been an important festival since ancient times.


Legend of Chong Yang Festival
It is said that during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), a devil lived on the Nu River and brought diseases to people nearby. A young man named Heng Jing lost his parents  as well. In order to drive away the devil, he  found a god to teach him  skills. On the eighth day of the ninth lunar month, the god told Heng Jing that the devil would appear on the second day and that he needed to go back. Heng Jing returned home with a bag of dogwood and some chrysanthemum wine.  In the morning of the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, Heng Jing led all the villagers, each carrying a dogwood leaf and a cup of chrysanthemum to the nearest mountain. At noon, when the devil came out, the devil suddenly stopped because  it was scared of the fragrance of the dogwood and chrysanthemum wine. After several rounds of fighting, Heng Jing finally won. From then on, the custom of climbing mountains, drinking chrysanthemum wine and holding dogwood became popular.


Customs of Chong Yang Festival
Climb Hills

To commemorate the ancient Double Ninth Festival, people began to climb hills, a custom that continues to this day. There are no rules about how high one should climb. Just a certain height is enough. For example, many people climb hills or towers on this special day.


Appreciate Chrysanthemum and Drink Chrysanthemum Wine
Appreciating chrysanthemum and drinking chrysanthemum wine had always been a tradition of the festival. So, it was also known as the "Chrysanthemum Festival" as it was the time when chrysanthemums were in full bloom. Poets, celebrities and nobles would hold banquets to write poems to appreciate the elegance of the chrysanthemum. Nowadays, during the festival, some big cities hold wonderful chrysanthemum exhibitions.  According to the record of traditional Chinese medicine, drinking chrysanthemum tea or chrysanthemum wine had been popular in China since the Three Kingdoms Period because of its cleansing properties.


Wear Cornel and Chrysanthemums
Cornel is a plant that can eliminate disasters in people's values and was popular in the past. Women and children like to wear a sachet sewn with dogwood. People believe that by wearing these plants, they can ward off evil spirits.


Eat Chong Yang Cake
Chong Yang Cake is a steamed cake with two layers, nuts and red dates in the middle. Since "high" is pronounced " gao" in Chinese, people think that personal progress is to be made within a few days after eating the cake, because " gao" also means that a person has progressed to a higher level.

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