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Double Ninth Festival (2)

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

11:12, October 18, 2011

Special Food


Chrysanthemum cakes



On Double Ninth Festival, people would like to drink chrysanthemum wine and have chrysanthemum cakes.

The chrysanthemum is a plant often used as a Chinese herbal medicine. People in ancient times believed that, in addition to detoxifcation, chrysanthemum could drive away evil spirits and prevent one from getting a chill in late autumn. So, making and drinking chrysanthemum could be traced back many centuries, and it became the traditional food on Double Ninth Festival, to avoid evil spirits and misfortunes. Besides, the Chinese word for wine isJiu, a homonym of the Chinese word for long, symbolizing longevity.

Another special food for this festival is chrysanthemum cakes. The Chinese word for cake isGao, a homonym of the Chinese word for high, symbolizing progress and promotion at work and in daily life and improvement in life year by year. In addition, mountains are high, so eating cakes can take the place of going for a climb -- by a stretch of the imagination.

The dogwood is a plant with a strong fragrance, often used as a Chinese herbal medicine. People in ancient times believed it could drive away evil spirits and prevent one from getting a chill in late autumn. But the custom of carrying a spray of dogwood on the Double Ninth Festival is slowly dying out and many people, especially young people in the cities, do not even know what dogwood looks like.

Since nine is the highest odd digit, people take two of them together to signify longevity. Therefore, the ninth day of the ninth month has become a special day for people to pay their respects to the elderly and a day for the elderly to enjoy themselves. It has also been declared China's Day for the Elderly.

A Day for Outing


Dogwood

The festival is held in the golden season of autumn, at harvest-time. The bright clear weather and the joy of bringing in the harvest make for a festive happy atmosphere. The Double Ninth Festival is usually perfect for outdoor activities. Many people go hiking and climbing in the countryside, enjoying Mother Nature's final burst of color before she puts on her dull winter cloak. Some will carry a spray of dogwood.

Therefore, it is now considered as the last outing of the year before the onset of winter, for people to go climbing to get some exercise as well as enjoy the autumn scenery.
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