Chung Yeung Festival For Dummies

Hong Kong has over 17 public holidays for 2018 sprinkled with many different local festivals and events. In a city that's perpetually active, it’s nice being able to look forward to so many days off.

But how many of us know or spend a moment to actually understand the significance of some of the important LOCAL festivals like the Spring Lantern Festival, the Tin Hau Festival, mid-autumn festival or the upcoming Chung Yeung Festival this wednesday 😀? We've written up a short explaination of the Festival for those who don't know what it is about.

Chung Yeung Festival is on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. (9/9) the Western calendar date of 2018 is 17/10. Similar to Ching Ming Festival, the Chinese in South China will congregate at cemeteries to visit their ancestors' grave for the rest.

Besides commemorating ancestors, hiking is also popular on that day.🏃‍♂🏃‍♂There is a legend of Chung Yeung Festival since Han dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD) :

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A soothsayer advised a man that he should go to the high ground with his family on the nine-day of the nine months.⛰⛰ The man believed in his saying and complied. On the next day, he found that all villagers dead.😱😨 He and his family had been spared by leaving for the high ground. Therefore, going to the top of the places means safety and luck in Chung Yeung Festival.

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Besides Chung Yeung Festival, the top always equals to good luck in Chinese. For example, people will enjoy a special cake of "Ko"🥢🥢 (Meaning top/ high in Chinese) in Chinese New Year to bless to have a higher position in a career in the future year.⬆⬆ To celebrate Chung Yeung Festival, there is a Chongyang Cake (As shown in the picture) but it is not popular.

In addition, local festivals always mean a chance for family to “Get Together”. In ancient China, leaving family for a long time was a normal case 😰😰 as Chinese hoped to work for the government to gain glory for the family.✨ Therefore, most of the festivals are for a reunion of the family. In traditional Chinese belief, a reunion of a family is the most meaningful moment.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

When the poet Wang Wei was in Changan (now Shaanxi) for examination on Chung Yeung Festival, he wrote a poem to express his sadness about missing 😭😭 this family hiking day - “Thinking of my Brothers on Mountain Climbing Day” (九月九日憶山東兄弟):

Thinking of my Brothers on Mountain Climbing

DayAlone, a lonely stranger in a foreign land,

I doubly pine for kinsfolk on a holiday.

I know my brothers would, with dogwood spray in hand,

Climb up mountain and miss me so far away.

Translated by X.YZ., professor in Peking University

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