Origin of the Double Ninth Festival Ⅰ  

The origins of the Double Ninth Festival date back to the Pre-Qin Period. In Lv’s Commentary on History (Lv Shi Chuan Qiu), there appears the phrase, “in September, store the grain after the harvest, and offer sacrifices to gods or ancestors,” and, in another place, “on the Double Ninth Festival, prepare sacrifices to gods.” It is obvious that the custom of making sacrifices to the gods and ancestors in the harvest season had been formed by that time.

During the Han Dynasty, the character Jia Peilan of the West Han Dynasty said in the book, Miscellanea of Xijing, “on September 9, wearing dogwood, eating cakes, and drinking the chrysanthemum wine, people could have a long life.” By then, the custom of seeking longevity on Double Ninth Festival had been formed. It may have been influenced by the ancient wizard (later Taoist priest), who pursued the longevity by collecting herbs. At the same time, the large-scale banquet developed from the celebrations of the Pre-Qin Period. In the Record of Xingchu, the author record that “On September 9, all people drink and have a picnic.” During the Sui Dynasty, Du Gongzhan noted that “we have no idea when the banquet on September 9 started, but it has not changed since the Song Dynasty.” The basic customs of seeking longevity and having banquets on Double Ninth Festival had been formed by that time.

In the Three Kingdoms period, Cao Pi, the Wen Emperor of Wei said in his Letter to Zhong Yao on September 9, “How time flies! It is the Double Ninth Festival again. The number nine belongs to Yang. The shining of the sun and the moon have added brightness. It is considered a day for longevity. That’s why we hold a feast to celebrate.” It is obvious that the customs of the Double Ninth Festival had been finalized by that time. The themes of the Double Ninth Festival are to seek longevity, wear dogwood, enjoy chrysanthemum flowers, drink wine and offer sacrifices to gods and ancestors. In modern times, the custom of respecting the elderly has been added.

Source: baike.baidu.com

Translated by Zhang Min

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