Chongyang Festival: Celebrating Longevity and Unity in Chinese Culture

Chongyang Festival
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    For anyone eager to understand Chinese culture, one must explore its various vibrant festivals that reflect the rich tapestry of traditions and values. Today, let’s delve into the ‘Chongyang Festival’, also known as the ‘Double Ninth Festival’, which falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month.

    Chongyang Festival

    Rigins and Significance

    In Chinese culture, the number nine is considered auspicious, symbolizing longevity and eternity. Consequently, the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, a date featuring two nines, is considered doubly auspicious. The Chongyang Festival, therefore, carries a strong association with promoting good health, longevity, and respect for the elderly.

    Climbing High

    One popular tradition during Chongyang is mountain climbing, also making the festival known as ‘Height Ascending Festival’. This act symbolizes overcoming obstacles and striving for greater heights in life. As people reach the mountain top, they enjoy a sense of accomplishment, accompanied by the panoramic view, which represents a broad and unobstructed outlook on life.

    climb high

    Admiring Chrysanthemums

    Chrysanthemums, blooming during this time of the year, take center stage during the festival. These beautiful flowers are appreciated for their vitality as they can withstand the dropping temperatures of autumn. Enjoying chrysanthemums, people usually drink chrysanthemum wine or tea for its supposed health benefits, contributing to the festival’s theme of longevity.

    Wearing Dogwood

    People often wear sprigs of dogwood during Chongyang. It’s considered a protective charm, believed to ward off harm and bring good luck. In ancient times, it was common for people to decorate their homes with this plant, reinforcing the festive atmosphere.

    Caring for the Elderly on Double Ninth Festival

    Honoring the Elderly

     significant aspect of the Chongyang Festival is the respect and care shown towards the elderly. Activities are organized where the old are helped to climb mountains or enjoy outdoor activities. This is a beautiful representation of the Chinese belief in filial piety and the importance of family.

    Eating Chongyang Cake

    The Chongyang cake, or ‘Gao’, is another symbol of this day. ‘Gao’ sounds similar to the word for ‘height’ in Chinese, tying back to the tradition of ascending heights. These cakes, usually steamed and made from rice flour, are shared amongst family and friends.

    Chongyang Cake

    The Chongyang Festival is not only a day for individual and family activities but a societal effort towards unity, health, and longevity. By understanding these traditions, one can better appreciate the values that underpin Chinese society and its approach towards life and aging.

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