Chong Yang Jie - the Double Nine Festival activities

Written by April Zhang on Tuesday, 27 September 2022. Posted in Front Page

Chong Yang Jie - the Double Nine Festival activities

If you ask any Chinese people to name a day for them to customarily go hiking in the mountains, they will probably answer that it is the ninth day of the ninth month in the lunar calendar. That day is Chong Yang Jie (重阳节), the Double Nine Festival. This year, it is Oct 4, 2022.

The name of this festival is related to the concept of yin (阴) and yang (阳). The earth is yin, and the sky is yang. The Moon is yin, and the Sun is yang. Female is yin, and male is yang. Yin and yang are opposite of each other, and at the same time they are highly connected and can change into each other. 

Traditionally, the number nine is regarded as yang. The ninth day of the ninth month is a double yang day. This is the reason that this day is named Chong Yang (重阳). Chong (重) means “again, once more”.

Chong Yang Festival began as early as the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BCE). At this time of the year, autumn brings fine and dry weather across the country, while the seasonal flower chrysanthemum is blooming. For thousands of years, Chinese people have had many meaningful activities on this day. 

Hiking is usually the most popular event. It’s also a good family activity. Family members and friends get together, go to high places, enjoy beautiful nature, and appreciate one another’s company. In Hong Kong, it is also a time to commemorate family ancestors. 

Going to a chrysanthemum flower show is also highly recommended. I’ve been to a few myself. Each show displayed twenty to thirty types of different chrysanthemum flowers, with different sizes and colours. They were all beautiful and the work went into growing these flowers were awe-inspiring.

(Chrysanthemum flowers)

Another custom during the Double Ninth Festival is to wearing cornel (茱萸, zhuyu) to ward off evil spirit and avoid disasters. A famous poem “遥知兄弟登高处, 遍插茱萸少一人” is precisely about this custom. If the whole world had worn cornel three years ago, do you think we would have warded off covid-19 virus? 

Celebrations also need food and drink. Special cakes are made for this occasion. The special drink is chrysanthemum wine (菊花酒). The best seasonal choice! 

Therefore, a good combination of celebratory ideas includes going to high places, wearing cornel, having special cakes, drinking chrysanthemum wine, and admiring chrysanthemum flowers and beautiful nature. 

Over the years, the Double Ninth Festival has also acquired some new meanings. This festival is literally written as “99”, and the pronunciation of “99” is the same as 久久 (long time). The extend meaning is old age.

Chong Yang Jie is just around the corner. It’s time for Chinese language learners to take a break from their regular study and enjoy some seasonal festivities.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Chong Yang Jie!

About the Author

April Zhang

April Zhang

April Zhang is the founder of MSL Master and she enjoys teaching and interacting with students. She constantly explores new and interesting ways of teaching Chinese through creative and imaginative activities.

With her help, many students have achieved outstanding result, which has enriched their understanding about China and has significantly contributed to their work.



April Zhang
Chinese Teacher
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