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Double 9 Festival 2012

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Tomorrow (23rd October 2012) marks the annual Double Nine Festival (Chóng jiǔ jié 重九節) in China and other parts of Asia. Set every year on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese (lunar) calendar.

Traditionally the Double Nine festival is a very important day where activities include climbing mountains (hiking), playing outside, visiting the tombs of departed ancestors and drinking chrysanthemum wine or nowadays chrysanthemum tea, and also wear the “zhuyu” flower.

According to Yi Jing a classical Chinese text, the number nine is a yang number and is therefore a dangerous date which is why it is sometimes referred to as “double yang festival” (Chóngyáng jié 重陽節) it is said that one day a man named Huan Jing believed that a monster bringing pestilence was coming. He told his countrymen to hide on a hill while he went to defeat the monster. Later, people celebrated Huan Jing’s defeat of the monster on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. It is for that reason that people go outside or climb mountains on this day.

The reason for drinking chrysanthemum wine and wearing the “zhuyu” flower is because they have special healing powers in TCM and can also be used to air out houses.

A famous poem that is often read on this day is called "Double Ninth, Missing My Shandong Brothers" by Wang Wei (王維).

The poem reads;

On the ninth day of the ninth month, I remember my brothers from Shan Dong.
As a lonely stranger in a foreign land,
At every holiday my homesickness increases.
Far away, I know my brothers have reached the peak;
They are planting flowers, but one is not present.

jiǔ yuè jiǔ rì yì shān dōng xiōng dì
dú zài yì xiāng wéi yì kè
měi féng jiā jié bèi sī qīn
yáo zhī xiōng dì dēng gāo chù
biàn chā zhū yú shǎo yī rén

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