Double Ninth Festival
The Double Ninth Festival is a holiday that’s observed in China, with similar festivals observed in Taiwan, Macao, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam on the ninth day of the ninth month on the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Also known as the Chung Yeung Festival, or Chong Yang Festival, the date on which this holiday falls is considered to be a very auspicious one.
That’s because the number 6 is associated with Yin, while the number 9 is associated with Yang. Yin represents the dark side and yang represents the light side. Therefore, yang is more positive than yin. Since the 9th day of the 9th month is a double representation of Yang, it’s considered to be very lucky. On this day, people pay respect to their ancestors at their graves, lay out food for the spirits, and burn incense. They also enjoy chrysanthemum wine or tea and Chong Yang Cake.
Double Ninth Festival Legend
It’s said that this holiday began during the Eastern Han Dynasty-sometime between 25 and 220 A.D. During this time, a devil supposedly occupied the Nu River and caused a great pestilence among the people living around the river. When the parents of a young man named Hengjing were killed by the devil’s evil magic. So Hengjing searched for an immortal to teach him swordsmanship in order to defeat the devil.
On the day before the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, the immortal informed Hengjing that the devil would show up and that he was to go get rid of the devil and his evil works. He took a bag of dogwood and some chrysanthemum wine and then returned back to his hometown.
On the morning of the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, Hengjing led the villagers, who were armed with dogwood leaves and chrysanthemum wine, to the nearest mountain. When the devil emerged from the river at noon, it stopped suddenly because of the fragrance emitted by the wine and dogwood. This is when Hengjing descended upon the devil with his sword and defeated him.
Customs & Observations For The Double Ninth Festival
People celebrate this holiday in a variety of different ways. One way is to climb mountains on this day, just like Hengjin does in the legend. It’s a day on which people can climb the mountain, enjoy nature and have fun with friends and family. Another thing that people do is to drink chrysanthemum tea or chrysanthemum wine.
While enjoying the tea or wine, people can also enjoy Chong Yang Cake-a traditional cake that’s made of rice flour, sugar, chestnuts, and almonds. Because the word for “cake” in Chinese sounds a lot like the word for “height” people associate it with good luck on this day. After all, leading the villages up a mountain was a big reason Hengjin was successful against the devil.