Header issue 08  
The Double Ninth Festival

Double Nine Festival ('Chong Yang Jie' 重阳节) (Also known as “Elders Day”)

Those of you following this series of newsletters to help you better understand Chinese culture will recall a number of festivals where the use of numbers are central to the celebration - October the 26th 2009 is a special day for many Chinese known as “Double Ninth Festival” - its on October 26th as opposed to September 9th as traditional Chinese festivals follow the lunar calendar, not the Gregorian one.

I Ching  
For many Chinese people, the “I Ching” is an important cultural system of understanding the world that uses a set of symbols and numbers to “mirror” the process of change in the real world, with odd numbers representing the active principle of yang, and even numbers signifying the passive principle of yin.

There are of course religious overtones in this, and the system is nothing new (its a system that cannot be objectively measured in any way). there are many similar religious developments elsewhere in the world, for example in Ancient Greece; Pythagoras was the leader of a religious sect founded upon the importance of number as central to understanding reality, there have been numerous attempts by early cultures throughout the world to use number, astronomy, and geomancy (eg: Feng Shui) to divine what lies in the future and try and explain the often turbulent and difficult to comprehend world around them. The Chinese are particularly unique in that these beliefs have remained a relatively central part of many persons systems of thought and influence the way they understand and interact with the world around them.

The Double Ninth Festival falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. According to the I-Ching system of thought, "nine" is a number belonging to the positive principle "yang (阳)" thus the day is also known as Chong Yang or "Double Yang" Festival. The ancient Chinese regarded this day as an auspicious day (Think; “Eternity day”) and thus began to celebrate it - in Chinese, the word "nine" is homophonous with the word for "long time," and accordingly this number has come to represent longevity. Since then, Double Ninth Day has gradually lost its original purpose, becoming today a time of expressing gratitude to the elderly for their hard work and continuing the Chinese tradition of revering the old.

The day is traditionally celebrated by activities including hill-climbing (supposedly, the higher you climb… the higher you will get in future events), drinking chrysanthemum wine, hanging dogwood sprays, and other customs handed down from the Han dynasty in the 9th century and were all originally practiced, like many of these traditions to avoid disaster and danger and increase good fortune.

We will be further developing this newsletter from next month with a new edition to help keep our readers ahead by introducing timely economic and policy news related to money remittances in China and the East Asia region. We hope that you enjoy what we believe are stimulating and informative newsletters of genuine value in helping you understand your customers better.

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