The Double Ninth Festival falls on October 2 this year. The festival is also known as the Chongyang Festival, which falls on the 9th day of the 9th month on the lunar calendar. The number nine in Chinese culture is consider negative as it is Yang while six is Ying that is positive. The day has over the years changed in meaning from the ancient celebrations of wading off the dangerous association of double nines to the Chinese government designating this day, Senior’s Day.
Folklore says that a man named Huan Jing defeated a monster up a hill that he thought would bring epidemic to protect his countrymen. People started to observe the day by hiking up mountains or towers to avoid plagues or diseases. There is also the eating of cake since cake and height share the same pinyin of gao. The layers of the cakes have to be nine to look like a tower but this was not strictly followed.
China has numerous species of chrysanthemum that bloom during the festival period and people either drunk chrysanthemum wine, tea, or hanged the flowers on windows and doors to repel evil spirits.
Whether you want to try out the old ways or the modern way of celebrating the Double Ninth Festival, there are plenty of activities that involve the whole family. The little ones can write an email to their grandparents as a way to celebrate with them.
Photos: Ethan Prater & Audreyjm529 (flickr)