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Climbing Mountains

People like to climb mountains on this festival, so Double Ninth Festival is also called “Mountain-climbing Festival “.
The 9th lunar month, with clear autumn sky and bracing air, is a good time for sightseeing. So people, both ancient and present, love to go sightseeing this month.

Apart from expelling bad luck and disasters, climbing mounting also indicates “climbing to a higher position”, and it is also an important reason why ancient people pay much attention about this custom. Another reason that climbing mountains are valued by people, especially by the elderly is that is has a meaning of “climb to a longevous life”. Also for this reason people believe that climbing mountains can make people live a more longevous life.

It is really refreshing to climb mountains and enjoy the beauty of nature at this bright and clear time in autumn. Climbing mountains on Double Ninth Festival was already prevailing in the Tang Dynasty, and a lot of poems were devoted to this custom.

Enjoying Chrysanthemum Flowers

Chrysanthemum originated in China and was recorded in some Chinese books as early as the 5th century B.C. Chrysanthemum blossom in the ninth lunar month have a beautiful name of “flower of longevity”.

The custom of wearing chrysanthemum appeared in the Tang Dynasty already and was always very popular throughout the time afterwards. The entrances of some taverns in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) were decorated with the flowers on the day, which was supposed to incite customers’ desire for wine. Chrysanthemum displays were usually held immediately after the day in some regions of China in the Qing Dynasty. People in Beijing began to stick the chrysanthemums on doors and windows to “get rid of the bad luck and bring in the good ones” which is an alteration of the custom of wearing Chrysanthemum on head. At these displays people might enjoy chrysanthemum flowers, take part in poem-composing competitions or watch painters drawing paintings of chrysanthemum flowers.

Drinking Chrysanthemum Flower Wine

The chrysanthemum flower wine is unique in brewing. In ancient times,people usually picked fresh chrysanthemum flowers and leaves on the 9th of the 9th lunar month, and brewed the mixture of them and grains into the wine, which would not be drunk until the same day next year. The wine is said to have wholesome effects on sharpness of the eye, alleviation of headache, drop of hypertension, reduction of weight and removal of stomach trouble, thus contributing to longevity. It is said that the drinkers of the chrysanthemum wine would be free from evil and have strong physique against cold weather.

Wearing Dogwood

The dogwood is a species of evergreen arbor; it is heavy-scented plant whose fruit is edible and stock and leaves can be medicinal materials. They can expel insects, get rid of the humidity, help digestion and cure inner heat. It puts out purple flowers in spring and bears, in autumn, purplish-brown fruit that is sour, puckery and mild in nature.

The custom of wearing dogwoods was already very popular in the Tang Dynasty. The ancient people believed that planting dogwoods on Double Ninth Festival could prevent diseases and avoid disasters. They also wear them on arms or heads or put them in sachets. Most of people that follow the custom are women and children, and in some places men also wear them.

Eating Double Ninth Cake

The Double Ninth cake is also known as “chrysanthemum cake” or “flower cake”. It dates back to the Zhou Dynasty. It is said that the cake was originally prepared after autumn harvests for farmers to have a taste of what was just in season, and it gradually grew into the present cake for people to eat on the Double Ninth Day.

The cake was usually made of glutinous rice flour, millet flour or bean flour.

Flying a paper crane

Paper crane is just kite. According to our traditions and customs, flying kites usually happen at the Qing Ming Festival. But Tomb Sweeping Festival is during the rainy season which obviously is not suit for flying a kite, while Double Ninth Day owns clear autumn sky and crisp air making kite flying a best outdoor activity.

In the recent years something new was added into the old festival and it became an annual “Respect-the-Senior Festival”. Every time it comes to this day, people will hold all kinds of activities to show their wish for the senior people that they can always keep healthy and happy.

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