Double Ninth Festival - 重阳节 Chóngyángjié
The cranes in the painting symbolize, according to Chinese culture, longevity, elegance, auspiciousness.
The Double Ninth Festival (Chóngyángjié) is a traditional Chinese folk festival. The festival is held on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, in 2021, Chóngyáng-jié falls on the 14th of October. The "nine – jiǔ 九" number is a yáng 阳-number in the "Book of Changes – I-Jing 易经", and "nine-nine" - two yáng-numbers together, it is hence called "Double Ninth - Chóngyáng 重阳".
The ancients believed that nine-nine (jiǔ-jiǔ) Chongyang was an auspicious day. People thought climbing a mountain on this day could help to avoid misfortune and prevent disasters. They used to climb high (登高 dēnggāo) to pray for blessing, worship gods and ancestors, and drink banquets to pray for longevity. This gradually evolved into a relaxation and exercise.
The Double Ninth Festival originated from the worship of celestial phenomena, started in ancient times, popularized in the Western Han Dynasty (~100 B.C.), and flourished after the Tang Dynasty (from 618). According to the existing historical data and textual research, in ancient times, there were harvest festivals and ancestor worship activities in autumn; the ancients offered sacrifices to the emperor and ancestors when the crops were harvested in September to thank the emperor and the ancestors.
Perhaps because of the famous poem "Missing brothers in Shandong on the Double Ninth Day" of WANG Wei (see above), it is also the traditional custom to wear cornel, admire chrysanthemums and eat the Double-Ninth cake on Double Ninth Festival. Cornel is a kind of plant with edible fruit, while its stem and leaves have medical value. Chrysanthemum blooms in September, and enjoys the reputation of a “flower of longevity”. Made of flour, the Double-Ninth cake can be sweet if jujube, ginkgo, pine nuts and apricot kernel are added.
During the historical development and evolution of the Double Ninth Festival, a variety of folk customs have been blended together, carrying rich cultural connotations. In the folklore concept, "nine" is the largest number among the numbers. It implies a long long life, and it entrusts people's blessings for the health and longevity of the elderly. On May 20, 2006, the Double Ninth Festival was included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage lists by the State Council. The Double Ninth Festival nowadays becomes a Day of Elderly 老人节.
The coming years' Chóngyángjié falls on:
2022: Tuesday, the 4th of October
2023: Monday, the 23rd of October
2024: Friday, the 11th of October
Picture source: Baidu Baike