The last remnants of the great autumn weather provide the perfect setting to get out and celebrate the Chongyang Festival, also known as the Double Ninth Festival because it is observed on the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar. This traditional festival has also become a day to celebrate senior citizens, so locals will often entertain their elders with a variety of day trips and activities. However not all the elders are content with picnics at the local park; some are all for taking part in the traditional Double Ninth Festival custom of climbing hills and mountains!
This energetic desire to climb comes from ancient myths saying that climbing high on this day will protect you from evil spirits, disease and misfortune. But don’t worry if you don’t have it in you to climb, you can always protect yourself by eating another local tradition: Chongyang cakes (重阳糕 Chóngyáng gāo). Eating these is believed to have the same effect as climbing a mountain, so you should have yourself covered.
Need something to wash down all that cake? Try another local tradition; chrysanthemum wine (菊花酒 Júhuā jiǔ). Made from, you guessed it, chrysanthemum (a plant native to Asia), it is believed the wine can improve eyesight, treat dizziness, bring down blood pressure as well as a variety of other healing effects. These days, though, many substitute chrysanthemum tea (菊花茶 Júhuā chá) in its place.
Longevity is the theme of this day, so show some love to your elders, buy some Chongyang cakes, and start a fitness regime, because Chinese mountains are not to be taken lightly!