Double Ninth Festival

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Double Ninth Festival
Chai Wan Cemetery Hong Kong Double Ninth Festival 01.jpg
Chai Wan Cemetery, Hong Kong, 2015
Official nameChung Yeung Festival (重陽節) (重阳节)[1]
Also calledChong Yang Festival (重陽節)
Chōyō (重陽)
Jungyangjeol (중양절) [2][3]
Chrysanthemum Festival (菊の節句)
Vietnamese: Tết Trùng Cửu
Observed byChinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese[2]
Date9th day of the 9th lunar month
2021 date14 October
2022 date4 October
2023 date23 September
2024 date1 October
Double Ninth Festival
Traditional Chinese重陽節
Simplified Chinese重阳节

The Double Ninth Festival (Chong Yang Festival or Chung Yeung Festival in China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, Chōyō no Sekku[5] (Japanese: 重陽の節句, Kiku no Sekku), Jungyangjeol (Hangul: 중양절, Hanja: ), Vietnamese: Tết Trùng Cửu), observed on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar, is a traditional Chinese holiday, mentioned in writings since before the Eastern Han period (before AD 25).[2]

According to the I Ching, nine is a yang number; the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (or double nine) has too much yang (a traditional Chinese spiritual concept) and is thus a potentially very auspicious date. Hence, the day is also called "Double Yang Festival" (重陽節). It is customary to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum liquor, and wear the zhuyu (茱萸) plant, Cornus officinalis. (Both chrysanthemum and zhuyu are considered to have cleansing qualities and are used on other occasions to air out houses and cure illnesses.)

On this holiday some Chinese also visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects. In Hong Kong and Macao, whole extended families head to ancestral graves to clean them and repaint inscriptions, and to lay out food offerings such as roast suckling pig and fruit, which are then eaten (after the spirits have consumed the spiritual element of the food). Chongyang Cake is also popular. Incense sticks are burned.[6] Cemeteries get crowded, and each year grass fires are inadvertently started by the burning incense sticks.


In 1966, Taiwan rededicated the holiday as "Senior Citizens' Day",[7] underscoring one custom as it is observed in China, where the festival is also an opportunity to care for and appreciate the elderly.[8]

Double Ninth may have originated as a day to drive away danger, but like the Chinese New Year, over time it became a day of celebration. In contemporary times it is an occasion for hiking and chrysanthemum appreciation.[1] Other activities include flying kites, making flower cakes, and welcoming married daughters back home for visiting.[1]

Stores sell rice cakes ( "gāo", a homophone for height ) with mini colorful flags to represent zhuyu. Most people drink chrysanthemum tea, while a few traditionalists drink homemade chrysanthemum wine. Children learn poems about chrysanthemums, and many localities host chrysanthemum exhibits. Mountain climbing races are also popular; winners get to wear a wreath made of zhuyu. In Shandong province people drink spicy radish soup to bring good luck, it comes from an old saying "Drink the radish soup, the whole family will not suffer".[citation needed]



Karasu-zumo - lit. "crow sumo", part of the festivities held on September 9 at Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto

In Japan, the festival is known as Chōyō but also as the Chrysanthemum Festival (菊の節句, Kiku no Sekku) and it is one of the Japan's five sacred ancient festivals (sekku).[9][10][11] It is most commonly celebrated on the 9th day of the 9th month according to the Gregorian calendar rather than the lunar calendar, i.e. on September 9. It is celebrated at both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.[12] The festival is celebrated in the wish for the longevity of one's life and is observed by drinking chrysanthemum sake and eating dishes such as chestnut rice or (kuri-gohan) and chestnuts with glutinous rice or (guri-mochi).[11]

An old tradition now forgotten is that the dolls of Hinamatsuri are brought out to air, therefore making it a Hinamatsuri for adults.


In Korea, the festival is known as Jungyangjeol (중양절) and it is celebrated on the 9th day of the 9th month.[3] Koreans would consume chrysanthemum leaves in pancakes. As the festival is meant to celebrate and cultivate good health, outdoor activities such as carrying dogwood, climbing hills or mountains for picnics as well as gazing at chrysanthemum blossoms are carried out.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Zhao, Rongguang (2015). A History of Food Culture in China. SCPG Publishing Corporation. p. 14. ISBN 978-1938368165.
  2. ^ a b c d Roy, Christian (2004). Traditional Festivals: A Multicultural Encyclopedia. pp. 116. ISBN 978-1576070895.
  3. ^ a b c National Folk Museum of Korea (2015). Encyclopedia of Korean Seasonal Customs: Encyclopedia of Korean Folklore and Traditional Culture. Gil-Job-Ie Media. p. 232.
  4. ^ "Tết Trùng Cửu - Sự thật và Ý nghĩa của nó".
  5. ^
  6. ^ Chung Yueng Festival, Discover Hong Kong
  7. ^ "Chrysanthemums, Climbing, and Consideration of the Elderly - Double Ninth Day". Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-10-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Chrysanthemum Festival". The Free Dictionary. 2010. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  10. ^ 菊の節句(重陽の節句) [The Chrysanthemum Festival (The Choyo Festival)] (in Japanese). 英語対訳で読む日本の文化. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Chapter 3: Kiku no sekku". Japan Federation of Pottery Wholesalers’ Co-operative Association. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Autumn (July - September)". Tokyo Metropolitan Library. Retrieved 7 November 2018.