- Gordon Dumoulin
The "double nine" longevity festival
Last weekend China celebrated Double Ninth Festival, also known as Chongyang Festival which is held each year on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month.
Although not an official public holiday in today's China. this ancient festival was first mentioned in writing since before the Eastern Han period (before AD 25) for among others keeping diseases and bad luck away with celebrations such as climbing mountains, drinking Chrysanthemum wine or tea, eating Chongyang cakes, packed with seeds and dates, crabs, and using Cornel Dogwood twigs and leaves on houses and clothes for their fragrance (in the ancient times).
Both Chrysanthemum flowers and Cornel Dogwood cherries are vital medicinal herbs in the Traditional Chinese Medicines.
As nine is pronounced 'jiu' in Chinese, same as 'long', people relate double nine with longevity. In 1989, the Festival was attributed as Senior's Day, a day to show respect to the elderly and activities are organised for the seniors. Some people also visit graves to pay respect to their ancestors.