How Comes The Double Ninth Festival
Aging is an inevitable process that seems to be the only available way to live a long life. That’s why Chinese devote a special day for its celebration, called "Jiu Jiu Chong Yang Festival" or the Double Ninth Festival, on the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, which is Saturday.
In Chinese ancient philosophy, number nine "Jiu" refers to Yang, which means masculine or positive. Also, double nine "Jiu Jiu" is pronounced just like the Chinese word "forever". Thus the ancient Chinese considered it an auspicious day worth celebrating.
It is customary on this day to climb a high mountain or tower, drink chrysanthemum wine, and wear the zhuyu plant, which is said to have cleansing qualities. And some will visit the graves of ancestors to pay their respects. A special tradition of bedding contest in East China's Shandong province is shown below.
Shou Xing, the Chinese God of Longevity
According to folklore, Chinese ancestors believe in three universal energies, Fu for happiness, Lu for wealth and Shou for longevity, which are commonly referred to as the Gods of Blessings, Prosperity and Longevity. They are among the most popular deities in Chinese culture.
The Chinese Shou Xing, or Longevity God, has a long wispy beard and an enormous high bald head (seen above). He always carries a long knotted staff tied with a gourd, which holds the magic water of life. In his other hand, he holds the fruit of immortality. Symbolically, the god is represented as a mushroom or a turtle.
The Longevity God is said to be wise, knowledgeable and capable of ruling the world, whom Chinese worship to express their gratitude for granting the elders in the family a long life. Drawings or figurines of the deity are deemed best gifts for elders on their birthdays.