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Chinese Festivals | Double 9th Festival

Updated on October 13, 2013

Chóngyángjié in China ~ Let's Wear Dogwood, Drink Chrysanthemum Wine & Climb Hills!

The Double Ninth Festival falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, hence its name. This time is characterised by people enjoying hill climbing, wearing a spray of Dogwood, appreciating the beauty of Chrysanthemum flowers (and wine made from them) as well as eating multi-layered cakes. Old people are also encouraged to improve their health and happiness by taking part in the festival.

Image: turtlemom_nancy | Lens Updated: Oct 14th, 2013 @ 06:45 pm Beijing time.

Double Ninth Festival

started in the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BCE)

Double Ninth Festival on Wikipedia!

Read what the online reference source says...

The Double Ninth Festival (Chóngjiu or Chóngyángjié), or Chung Yeung Festival in Hong Kong, Vietnamese language: Tet Trùng Cuu, observed on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar (October 7 in 2008), is a traditional Chinese holiday, mentioned in writing since before the East Han period (thus, before AD 25).

mamjodh / CC BY 2.0

According to the I Ching, nine is the yang number; the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine) has too much yang (a traditional Chinese spiritual concept) and is thus a potentially dangerous date. Hence, the day is also called "Double Yang Festival". To protect against the danger, it is customary to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum wine, and wear the zhuyu plant, Cornus officinalis. (Both chrysanthemum and zhuyu are considered to have cleansing qualities and are used on other occasions to air out houses and cure illnesses.) Also on this holiday, some Chinese also visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects.

read the rest of the Wikipedia article...

The Legend of the Double Ninth Festival in China - The plague monster defeated by a resourceful Huanjing!

silkybeto / CC BY 2.0

During the Eastern Han Dynasty (24 to 220 CE), there was a story about a monster, who lived in the Ruhe River, that caused deadly plagues. Whenever it appeared, families fell ill and lives were lost. People living in this area suffered greatly from this.

In Runan village, a man named Huanjing lost his parents to the plague. He also nearly lost his own life. After recovering, Huanjing left his wife and children and set off resolutely to find heavenly beings and to learn martial arts in order to defeat the plague monster. Huanjing travelled to many famous mountains and called on lots of elder scholars. At last, he found out that there lived in seclusion a heavenly elder named Fei Changfang who possessed supernatural powers of invulnerability. He reasoned that, If he learned from him, he could surely defeat the plague monster.

Huanjing was overjoyed to know this. He travelled across mountains and rivers and experienced many hardships and difficulties, arriving at last to the foot of the mountain.He was considering the problem of how to find the celestial sage when a crane came flew down to him. The crane led him directly to an old temple where the sage lived. The temple was surrounded with magnificent green pines and cypresses as well as mountain streams.

Unfortunately, however, the door was bolted. Huanjing stood outside the door waiting respectfully in fear of disturbing the heavenly sage. He waited patiently for three days, when the door was opened at last. The sage, Fei Changfang, appeared with white hair and ruddy complexion, stroking his long beard. He said to Huanjing that, since he was so devoted, he could come in.

Fei Changfang accepted Huanjing as a protégé and taught him how to subdue demons by advanced swordsmanship. Huanjing became so absorbed in practising his craft that he often forgot to eat and sleep. At last, his swordplay reached a high degree of professional proficiency.

Finally, the sage asked Huanjing to come before him. He told him that the next day would be the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. Furthermore, the monster would appear in order to create trouble. Since Huanjing had mastered the art of swordsmanship, it was time for him to return and eradicate the monster. Fei Changfang gave Huanjing a parcel of dogwood leaves and a jar of chrysanthemum wine and gave instructions on how to use them to fight the evil monster. Huanjing flew away on the crane and went to his hometown.

On the morning of the 9th day Huanjing returned to his home. He led everyone to a nearby high mountain, according to the sage's instructions, and gave each person a leaf of the dogwood tree and a glass of chrysanthemum wine. Around mid-day the monster appeared from the Ruhe River making frightening cries. He charged into the village emitting a foul odour. To his great surprise, not a soul appeared, even after he passed several villages.

Finally, the monster caught sight of the people standing crowded together at the top of the mountain. He roared aloud and rushed at the mountain.As soon as the monster reached the foot of the mountain there suddenly blew from the mountain a gust of strange scent from the cornel and the bouquet of the chrysanthemum wine, making him stop abruptly and immediately change colour!

Huanjing descended the mountain, sword in hand. After few blows he killed the monster with his sword. From then on the area near Ruhe River was never haunted by the plague. And the custom of climbing mountains to avoid the plague on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month was begun.

Double Ninth Festival Poem by Chen Chun!

peterjr1961 / CC BY-NC 2.0

"This year the double ninth is exceedingly bright and clear

Regrettably, the hermit is not in the mountain

My white hair is only good for being covered by my tattered hat;

The yellow flowers are still willing to light my withered countenance.

Thoughts of distant friends increase my sorrow;

But I rejoice that nearby fishermen will come and go at leisure,

I take up a cup to toast the seasons;

Would that these happy moments pass more slowly!"

"Curse of the Golden Flower", (2007) - Epic melodrama set around the Double Ninth Festival!

Starring Chow Yun Fat (one of my favourite actors) and Gong Li, this movie features court intrigue, drama, romance and betrayal (not to mention spectacular martial arts scenes). There are scenes of the empress embroidering chrysanthemums into silken cloth while she knowingly drinks a poison draft prescribed as medicine by the emperor. Family intrigue within the walls of power in dynastic China provide a compelling movie experience. I loved this movie... check it out!

Did you enjoy reading about Double Ninth Festival or "Double Yang Festival" as it is sometimes known? Leave your comments and questions below. Please take the time to rate this lens at the top LH corner of the page. If you enjoyed it, you may care to mark it as a favourite as well! Are you on Twitter? Please consider a retweet of this page ==>

Double 9th Festival ~ What Do You Think? - Take a moment to leave your comments about this festival!

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    • KathyZ1 profile image

      KathyZ1 4 years ago

      Great lens, enjoy it.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Very nice lens, I hadn't heard of this festival before.

    • Tyla MacAllister profile image

      Tyla MacAllister 8 years ago

      I never heard of the Double Ninth Festival either but I really enjoyed learning about it. I would love to try the chrysanthemum wine. I wonder if it tastes anything like dandelion wine.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Never heard of this festival before. Thanks for sharing it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I never heard of this festival before. Really a beautiful lens. I love how you color coordinated your font with the scheme of the lens. 5*