The Double Ninth Festival, also known as the Chongyang Festival, is a time-honored Chinese holiday that falls on the ninth day of the ninth month in the lunar calendar. This places it in early October in the Gregorian calendar, and in 2023, the festival will be celebrated on October 23rd.
Climbing to New Heights
One of the most cherished customs during the Double Ninth Festival is climbing mountains. This activity is a celebration of the crisp autumn air, the vibrant fall foliage, and the joy of rising above challenges. Many people venture to the countryside to ascend peaks, particularly those adorned with chrysanthemum flowers, which are associated with the holiday.
Admiring Chrysanthemum Blooms
Chrysanthemums are not only beautiful but also symbolize longevity and endurance. During the Double Ninth Festival, chrysanthemum displays and exhibitions are common. These flowers can be used to brew tea, which is enjoyed for its health benefits, or to make chrysanthemum wine, believed to have medicinal properties.
Savoring Chongyang Cake
Chongyang cake is a special pastry prepared for the festival. This cake is made with multiple layers, signifying progress and development. Consuming it is thought to bring good fortune and keep evil at bay.
Indulging in Chrysanthemum Wine
Chrysanthemum wine, a classic drink for the Double Ninth Festival, is made by steeping chrysanthemum flowers in alcohol. This fragrant wine is believed to promote health and vitality. It’s a delightful way to toast to the occasion.
In some regions, families visit the graves of their ancestors during this festival. They clean the burial sites and make offerings of food and drink to show respect and gratitude to their forebears.
Engaging in Outdoor Activities
As the weather is typically pleasant during the Double Ninth Festival, it’s an ideal time for outdoor activities. These may include hiking, kite flying, and picnics. Families often spend time together in parks or natural settings, enjoying the autumn atmosphere.
Wearing Dogwood Leaves
In many areas, it’s customary to wear dogwood leaves, which are believed to have protective properties. Some households also decorate their homes with these leaves.
The Double Ninth Festival is a special occasion for family reunions. Families come together to celebrate, share a meal, and enjoy one another’s company.
The Double Ninth Festival is more than a date on the calendar; it’s a time when tradition and nature unite, offering an opportunity to appreciate the changing season and honor age-old customs. Whether you’re climbing a mountain, sipping chrysanthemum tea, or simply spending time with family, this festival is a chance to embrace the beauty of autumn and the richness of Chinese culture.