The Double Ninth Festival happens each year on the ninth day of the ninth month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, hence the name “Double Ninth Festival”. Since the number nine is believed to be a number of Yang(阳), which means “masculine” or “positive”, it is sometimes also called The Chongyang Festival(重阳节). This year it falls on October 14th.
To avoid any epidemics during the festival, a festival custom emerged to “ascend a height”. Historically, people would go to the top of a high tower or mountain. Today, the custom still lives, but people have adopted it more in a sense of travel, exercise and fun. Of course the brisk, clear, autumn air makes it a great time of year for this kind of activity.
Another festival custom is to eat Chongyang Gao, with Gao(糕) meaning cake. In Chinese, the words for “cake” (Gao) and “height” sound the same. So both climbing to a height and eating Chongyang Gao express the same sentiment – people like to make progress in all their endeavors.
The festival is also related to longevity and health hence the number nine shares the same pronunciation with the word for “eternity or forever”, so younger generations often send gifts or spend time with the elderly to show their gratitude and love for their older family members. Happy Double Ninth Festival!