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6 things you may not know about Double Ninth Festival

(Chinadaily.com.cn)    10:48, October 09, 2016

Double Ninth Festival [File photo]

The 9th day of the 9th lunar month is the traditional Chongyang Festival, or Double Ninth Festival, which falls on Oct 9 this year.

In an ancient and mysterious book Yi Jing, or The Book of Changes, number "6" was thought to be a Yin character, meaning feminine or negative, while number "9" was thought to be Yang, meaning masculine or positive. Therefore, the number nine in both month and day create the Double Ninth Festival, or Chongyang Festival.

Chong in Chinese means "double." Also, as double ninth was pronounced the same as the word to signify "forever", both are "Jiu Jiu," Chinese ancestors considered it an auspicious day worth celebration. That's why ancient Chinese began to celebrate this festival long ago.

Here are 6 things you may not know about Double Ninth Festival.

Wearing cornel twigs (Dogwood)

The cornel (dogwood) is a species of evergreen arbor, which is a heavy-scented plant whose fruit is edible and stock and leaves can be medicinal materials. They can expel insects, get rid of the humidity, help digestion and cure inner heat. It puts out purple flowers in spring and bears in autumn, purplish-brown fruit that is sour and mild in nature.

The custom of wearing cornel twigs (dogwoods) was already very popular in the Tang Dynasty (618-907); an imperial edict made it an official day off for common people. Ancient people believed that planting cornel twigs on Double Ninth Festival could prevent diseases and avoid disasters. They also wore the cornel twigs on their arms or heads or put them in sachets. Most people that follow the custom are women and children, and in some places men also wear them. During the Song Dynasty, people sent each other colorful silk cut into cornel twigs or chrysanthemum and wore them.


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