A brief introduction to the Double Ninth Festival in China

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The Double Ninth Festival, also known as Chongyang Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival whose origin dates to the Han Dynasty. Celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese calendar, Double Ninth Festival 2020 falls on 25th October. It is the time of year when families gather and indulge in festive rituals like climbing mountains, admiring chrysanthemum flowers, consuming chrysanthemum wine, eating Double Ninth cake, etc. Avail great deals on flights to China and return to your hometown to celebrate the Double Ninth Festival with your family!

Why is it called the Chongyang Festival?

According to the Chinese book Yi Jing, nine is regarded as a masculine number in the Yang character. Since the ninth day of the ninth month has two Yang characters, it is named Chongyang (chong means double). The Chinese believe that this is an auspicious day. Haven’t booked a flight yet? Don’t worry! With the cheapest last-minute flights to China available at iEagle, you’ll never have to miss celebrating this auspicious day in the presence of your family!

Legend of the Double Ninth Festival:

There’s an interesting story behind the origin of the Double Ninth Festival. Legend has it that there lived a man named Huan Jing near the Ru River who lost his parents to the plague caused by a demon. Most of his villagers also succumb to the disease, but Huan survives. Determined to save his village, he sets out in search of an immortal, ultimately meets an immortal sage living on a mountain and masters swordsmanship with the help of the sage. Learning about the return of the monster on the ninth day of the ninth month, Huan follows the sage’s instructions and asks the villagers to carry dogwood leaves and chrysanthemum wine and climb the nearby mountain. As the monster emerges from the water and feels suffocated due to the scent of the leaves and wine, Huan kills it with his sword and thus saves his land.

Since then, it has been strongly believed that engaging in activities such as climbing mountains, drinking wine, etc. on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year wards off evil. Thus started the tradition of celebrating the Double Ninth Festival, which is also called ‘The Chrysanthemum festival’!

Why and how is the Double Ninth Festival celebrated?

The number 9 is associated with longevity in Chinese traditions. The sound of nine is ‘jiu’ in Chinese, and it is a homonym of the Chinese character that denotes longevity. Drawing parallels between these notions and the legend, people started believing that celebrating the Double Ninth Festival protects them from disasters and blesses them with longevity. Paying homage to the ancestors has also become a tradition of this festival of late.    

The customs that are followed as a part of the festival celebrations are:

Climbing mountains:

Every family goes hiking on the day of the Double Ninth Festival. This is a great time to connect with relatives/ friends and enjoy nature. It is said that climbing a mountain on this day grants you good health and keeps you away from diseases. This practice gave the Double Ninth Festival its other name, which is the Height Ascending Festival. It is also symbolically seen as achieving great heights in life!

Suggested Read: Key Things to Know Before Traveling to China

Admiring the beauty of chrysanthemum flowers:

One of the interesting customs is watching chrysanthemum flowers on the Double Ninth Festival day. As the festival month coincides with the blooming season of pretty chrysanthemum flowers, grand chrysanthemum exhibitions are held to encourage people to spend time in the chrysanthemum gardens and feel refreshed!   

Wearing dogwood:

The custom of wearing dogwood on the day of the Double Ninth Festival was very popular during ancient times. The widespread belief is that the cleansing qualities of dogwood save you from disease-causing germs. 

Consuming Chongyang Cake and chrysanthemum wine:

Food is an indispensable part of celebrations, be it festivals or functions. Chongyang Cake and chrysanthemum wine are compulsorily consumed on the occasion of the Double Ninth Festival. Chongyang Cake, a nine-layered cake, again is symbolic of the longevity concept and step by step growth in life. In fact, the sound of ‘cake’ is like that of ‘height’ in Chinese characters. Sipping chrysanthemum wine is thought to cure diseases owing to the antitoxin characteristics of chrysanthemum. 

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