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Senior's Day celebrated across China amid population aging concerns

(Xinhua)

10:08, October 06, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian-style dance, horse-headed string instrument performance and traditional songs. More than 100 elderly people in northwest China's Gansu Province on Wednesday enjoyed an art show performed on their doorstep.

A dozen of artists visited Tonghe Nursing Home in the provincial capital Lanzhou, bringing performances and greetings to the elderly on the traditional Double Ninth Festival, or Senior's Day which falls on Wednesday.

The 2,000-year-old festival, which falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, was traditionally celebrated for being auspicious as the pronunciation of "nine" in Chinese is the same as the word for eternity.

In recent years, the festival has been celebrated as a special day for younger generations to show respect to the elderly, particularly as China's 1.3-billion population is rapidly ageing, said Shi Lixue, a researcher of folk custom in Jilin Province.

According to government forecast, the number of Chinese people aged 60 or above is expected to surge from today's 178 million, 13.3 percent of the total population, to 221 million, or 16 percent, by the end of 2015.

In 1989 the Chinese government proclaimed the Double Ninth Festival as Senior's Day to raise public awareness of issues related to senior citizens.

Gzar, a singer who performed for the nursing home in Lanzhou, said respecting the elderly has been a traditional virtue of Chinese culture.

"At the festival, we would like to express our care for old people through our performances," said Gzar.

In east China's Zhenjiang city, more than 60 citizens voluntarily prepared a lunch on Wednesday for more than 40 old people at Zhenjiang Welfare House.

Ninety-year-old Huang Yufeng said, "Although I have no children, I have a feeling of being cared because of them. I'm not lonely in the welfare house."

In China's southernmost island province of Hainan, Wu Jiasheng, a 70-year-old villager in Longtang Township of Haikou City, was busy repairing and cleaning the house which was affected by just-finished strong tropical storm Nalgae.

"I've witnessed great change in the village," he said. "The elderly are always the first to be cared in either festivals or disasters like typhoon or floods."

Hainan is famous for high longevity rate because of its unpolluted air and ideal living environment. Official data shows the number of centenarians have reached more than 1,300.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:陈乐乐)

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Walton Eric at 2011-10-07174.6.21.*
Time for me to send my very best wishes to all the senior citizens of China on the this day of October 6th from a senior citizen of Canada
  

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