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Double Ninth Festival

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

11:12, October 18, 2011



Chrysanthemum

The Double Ninth Festival, also namedChong YangFestival, falls on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, hence it gets name of Double Ninth Festival.

Origin

The festival is based on the theory ofYinandYang, the two opposing principles in nature.Yinis feminine, negative principle, whileYangis masculine and positive. In ancient times people believed that all natural phenomena could be explained by this theory. Numbers were also related to this theory. Even numbers belonged toYinand odd numbers toYang. The ninth day of the ninth lunar month is a day when the twoYangnumbers meet. So it is calledChong Yang.Chongmeans double in Chinese.Chong Yanghas been an important festival since ancient times.

Legend

It is hard to say when these customs were created. But there are many stories which are closely related. As recorded in a historical book of the sixth century, in ancient times, there lived a man named Huan Jing. He was learning the magic arts from Fei Changfang, who had become an immortal after many years of practicing Taoism. One day, the two were climbing a mountain. Fei Changfang suddenly stopped and looked very upset. He told Huan Jing, On the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, disaster will come to your hometown. You must go home immediately. Remember to make a red bag for each one of your family members and put a spray of dogwood on every one. Then you must all tie your bags to your arms, leave home quickly and climb to the top of a mountain. Most importantly, you must all drink some chrysanthemum wine. Only by doing so can your family members avoid this disaster.

On hearing this, Huan Jing rushed home and asked his family to do exactly as his teacher said. The whole family climbed a nearby mountain and did not return until the evening. When they got back home, they found all their animals dead, including chickens, sheep, dogs and even the ox. Later Huan Jing told Fei Changfang about this. Fei said the poultry and livestock died in place of Huan Jing's family, who escaped disaster by following his instructions.

Since then, climbing a mountain, carrying a spray of dogwood and drinking chrysanthemum wine became the traditional activities of the Double Ninth Festival, to avoid evil spirits and misfortunes.


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