The Chung Yeung Festival, also known as the Double Ninth or Autumn Remembrance or the Festival of High Places, is celebrated annually on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, it will be observed on October 23. In China, people celebrate Chung Yeung by climbing hills and visiting the graves of their ancestors to offer burnt offerings. Families enjoy picnics and flying kites. They believe that as the kites fly away, bad luck also leaves the earth. Chung Yeung cakes made of rice flour and sugar are enjoyed, along with chrysanthemum wine or tea to ward off evil.
History of International: Chung Yeung Festival
Chung Yeung Festival is also called the Double Ninth because it falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. In Cantonese, ‘chung yeung’ means ‘double nine.’ In China, odd numbers are considered ‘yang,’ — positive. So the festival day is believed to be a fortunate one. Furthermore, the word for ‘nine’ in Chinese is pronounced in a similar way to the Chinese character ‘jiu,’ which means ‘long.’ Thus, the day of Chung Yeung also represents longevity. In 1989, the day was designated as Senior Day by the Chinese government.
One of the legends of Chung Yeung revolves around a man named Huan Jing. According to legend, Jing lost his parents due to the plague. He nearly lost his life too, but he recovered and decided to go on a journey to learn magic. He visited different places and masters and learned about an ancient hill where a Taoist immortal with supernatural power lived. The immortal taught him the art of swordplay and gave him a sword to exorcise demons. Jing received a warning from the divine being, who told him to take his family to the highest part of the village to escape the trouble that was about to befall his village. He also gave him zhuyu leaves and chrysanthemum wine. Huan obeyed this instruction, and on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, he took all the villagers to a hill to wait. Upon his return to the village, he discovered a demonic being. Following the advice of the divine being, Jing used his sword to defeat the demon. Because of this great feat, Huan was showered with good luck.
In China, people celebrate Chung Yeung by climbing hills and visiting the graves of their ancestors to offer burnt offerings. Additionally, families enjoy picnics and flying kites. They believe that as the kites fly away, bad luck also leaves. Chung Yeung cakes made of rice flour, sugar, and other garnishes like walnuts and fruit are enjoyed. People also drink chrysanthemum wine or tea to ward off evil and slow aging.
International: Chung Yeung Festival timeline
The legend of Huan Jing occurs during the time that the Eastern Han Dynasty rules over China.
During the Tang Dynasty period, the festival becomes a day off for the common people.
Taiwan rededicates Chung Yeung as Senior Citizen's Day.
The day of Chung Yeung is also designated as Senior's Day by the Chinese government.
International: Chung Yeung Festival FAQs
What language is spoken in China?
Mandarin is the official language of China.
What religion do Chinese people follow?
The main religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism — people may freely choose and express their beliefs.
What is the population of China?
China’s population is estimated at 1.4 billion people.
How to Observe International: Chung Yeung Festival
Honor your elders
Chung Yeung is a day to honor and show respect to elders. Celebrate by honoring your elders with kind gestures.
Take a hike
During Chung Yeung Festival, families hike to the hills and enjoy picnics while making offerings to their ancestors. Even if you're not Chinese, you can get some much-needed exercise by taking a hike on a hill or mountain in your environment.
Enjoy family time
The central point of Chung Yeung is family. Enjoy the day by spending time with your loved ones.
5 Most Popular Chinese Holidays
International New year
China celebrates New Year's Day like the rest of the world on January 1.
Celebrated in late January or early February, the Spring Festival marks the Chinese New Year and is the most important holiday in the country.
Qingming Festival (‘Qīngmíngjié’)
Also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, Qingming is a time to honor one's ancestors by visiting and sweeping dirt from their tombs.
Labor Day (‘Láodòngjié’)
The fourth holiday on the Chinese lunar calendar, Labor Day coincides with the annual International Workers' Day on May 1.
Dragon Boat Festival (‘Duānwǔjié’)
Celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunar calendar, this festival is celebrated with dragon boat races.
Why International: Chung Yeung Festival is Important
Culture is part of us
What makes Chung Yeung so special is that it is a celebration unique to China. It is a centuries-old celebration ingrained into the culture and traditions of the people.
It shows honor
Elders are fountains of wisdom, as their life experiences have provided them with the knowledge that can hardly be obtained within the four walls of any institution. In Western cultures, elders are often forgotten and ignored. This isn’t the case in China, as older people are shown the respect and honor they deserve.
It's an opportunity for family time
In our busy lives, we often neglect to spend time with those who are dearest to us. This holiday allows us to reunite and spend time with our loved ones.
International: Chung Yeung Festival dates