[ 2006-10-30 08:00 ]
The 9th day of September in the
lunar calendar is "the Chinese Chong Yang Festival" and a happy occasion in
autumn. According to the traditional theory of "Yin" and "Yang", both the 9th
month and the 9th day of the month belong to "Yang", which means positive and
masculine, and "Chong" means double,
thus it is called "Chong Yang".
People often gather for a party, appreciate chrysanthemums, pin the leaves of Cornus on
clothes. And the custom of climbing mountains and eating a special cake also
features the day.
This custom of climbing mountains can be dated back as early as West Han
Dynasty. Some old travel notes have it that, people climbed to mountain peaks
not only for beautiful scenes and poetic inspiration, but also the avoidance of
evil spirits and disasters.
This practice came from an ancient folktale. It is said long ago there
appeared a devil of plague in the
Ruhe River. People lay down and died wherever it came up. A boy named Heng Jing
swore to help his neighbors and fellow people to get rid of it. He visited many
famous mountains to seek a powerful master. Finally an old Taoist took him in
and taught him how to defeat the devil. Heng Jing put his whole heart into study
One day, the Taoist called him up and said, 'Heng Jing, tomorrow is the 9th
day of September and the devil will reappear. It is time for you to go home and
stop the devil.' The master also gave him a pack of leaves of Cornus and a jar
of liquor soaked with chrysanthemums. Riding a crane, Heng Jing went a great
distance back home in a day. As instructed by his master, he told his fellow
villagers to climb up the nearby mountain with a Cornus leaf pinned on their
clothes and a glass of chrysanthemum liquor in hand.
When the devil of plague came up from under the water, it got dizzy by the
scent of Cornus and chrysanthemums. Heng Jing fought with his master's sword and
killed the devil in a few rounds. People held parties, drank chrysanthemum
liquor to celebrate it. And the next year, the custom of mountain climbing
became popular among the villagers.
In the golden September, chrysanthemum blooms, reminding people of the
folktale. And later a special cake with dates, chestnuts and meat was made to
add more festivity to the special day.