CHUNG YEUNG FESTIVAL (重陽節)
Chung Yeung Festival is a public holiday in Hong Kong and it’s on the 9th day of the 9th month on the lunar calendar, earning its name as The Double Ninth Festival as well. Chung Yeung Festival is one of the 12 statutory holidays in Hong Kong and is about visiting your ancestral graves.
Before I moved to Hong Kong, I wasn’t really aware of such a holiday because it’s not a public holiday in Canada, but in Hong Kong, I soon learned that it is a holiday to visit your ancestral graves to worship, tidy, sweep and to lay out food offerings to your ancestors. Ching Ming in the spring is called the “Tomb Sweeping Festival”, which is a very similar festival. So what else are you supposed to do on Chung Yeung Festival?
WHAT TO DO ON CHUNG YEUNG FESTIVAL
Besides visiting, worshiping and tidying your ancestral and their graves, you are also supposed to “deng gao (登高)”, which directly translates to “go high” and means to go to the higher grounds/points of the city. This deng gao tradition/practice started through a legend in the Han dynasty (202BC to 220AD) whereby, there was a fortune-teller or someone that could see the future and he told this man to take his family to higher grounds on the day that is now known as Chung Yeung Festival.
The man did as he was advised and when he returned back to his village, he found that his entire village had been slaughtered but he and his family had been spared due to the fortune teller’s advice. Since then, people “deng gao” by hiking to the high points of the city because it is believed that this will bring them good luck.
In addition to that, people also eat “gao (糕)” which is cake because gao (cake) sounds like the gao in “deng gao (go high)”, so if you don’t go hiking to higher grounds, then you can get the same effect by going on a picnic and having cake. All the more reason to eat cake right? Chinese people also believe that by eating gao, it can help them get promoted to higher positions at work.