The Double Ninth/Chung Yeung Festival 重阳节
The Double Ninth Festival (重阳节/重陽節chóng yáng jié), observed on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar, is a traditional Chinese holiday, mentioned in writing since before the East Han period (before AD 25).
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 dangerous date. Hence, the day is also called "Double Yang Festival" (重阳节/重陽節). To protect against danger, it is customary to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum wine, 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.)
Chongyang Cake: On this holiday some Chinese also visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects. In Hong Kong, 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. Cemeteries get crowded, and each year grass fires are inadvertently started by the burning incense sticks.
Climbing mountains: On the Double Ninth Festival, people customarily climb mountains, appreciate chrysanthemum flowers, drink chrysanthemum wine, and eat double-ninth cakes. The Double Ninth Festival is also the "Old Men Festival". Old people are especially meant to improve their health by taking part in the activities on the day of the festival.
Family get-togethers: The Double Ninth Festival is also a time for family get-togethers. It is an occasion to remember one's ancestors, the sacrifices they made and the hardships they underwent. Often, family outings are organised during which people search to renew their appreciation of nature and to reaffirm their love and concern for family members and close friends.