About Chung Yeung Festival
When is Chung Yeung?
The festival of Chung Yeung, otherwise known as the Double-Ninth, the Festival of High Places or Autumn Remembrance, has been celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month for millennia.
Traditions of Chung Yeung
Since the festival falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, it is also known as the Double-Ninth festival. Odd numbers are considered Yang, meaning positive and masculine, according to the ancient Chinese divination text Yi Jing. Nine, being the largest single odd number, is considered the most positive.
In mainland China, the festival is considered a fortunate day that should be celebrated. In Chinese, nine has a similar pronunciation to the Chinese character ‘jiu’, meaning long, so the day has become a symbol of longevity in life. In 1989, the Chinese government designated the festival as Senior’s Day – a day to express love and show respect to the elderly.
The festival of Chung Yeung commemorates a legend from the Han Dynasty (BC 202- AD 220) that states that a soothsayer advised the Woon King to take his family to high place for the entirety of the ninth day of the ninth moon.
When the King and his family returned home, they found all the townspeople who hadn't gone to a high place had died.
It is now considered good luck to travel to a high place on the ninth day of the ninth moon, the Chung Yeung Festival.
A traditional custom on this day is to fly kites, as it is said that kites can carry bad luck up into the sky.
In mainland China, the festival revolves around longevity, so people celebrate the day with auspicious foods, including chrysanthemum-infused liquor – also known as ‘wine of longevity’ – which people drink in hopes of slowing the ageing process. They also eat steamed cakes made from rice flour and sugar, to symbolise moving to a higher status in life.