Chung Yeung Festival, a public holiday that is celebrated this coming 4th of October 2022 in Hong Kong. Rich with traditions that dates back a couple of thousand years or so, this day is celebrated with activities like hiking up mountains, paying respect to ancestors and loved ones by commemorating them, and balancing one’s yin-yang energy. We, at team localhood , took this opportunity to learn more about this upcoming festival which is also known as Double Ninth Festival and what takes place during it’s celebration
Chung Yeung Festival (重陽節) pronounced “chung yeung jit” in Cantonese, is a day when locals head on out to climb up high mountains, honour their ancestors and loved ones who have passed on by visiting their tomb and cleaning it up and lastly eating chonyang cake and drinking chrysanthemum tea or wine. It is called the double ninth festival as it is observed on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month and as for the Gregorian calendar? You guessed it, this 4th of October 2022.
Though sharing some similarities, Chung Yeung Festival should not to be confused with Ching Ming Festival (清明節), as I have before. The former takes place in autumn, whereas the latter during spring, hence the reason Ching Ming means “light” and marks the beginning after the cold winter season. Both these holidays are to honour the ancestors and loved ones who have passed on, hence the reason why local families head on over to their tombs to perform “tombsweeping” and give offerings and light up incense/joss sticks .
In modern day Hong Kong, it is not only a day for memorial, it is also celebrated as a day of outings, family gatherings and if the weather is fair, picnics.
If and when Chung Yeung Festival falls on a weekend, then the following weekday will be declared as a public holiday. During this day, the restaurants, shops and markets are usually on full swing, especially if it falls on a weekend, which is usually busy already. Kite flying is another favourite activity during this festival. Young families not only find this entertaining, but believe that the bad luck will leave on the kite and never return. Hiking up high mountains is another favourite activity not only by family members but by friends alike. One can be seen with hiking with spruces of chrysanthemum or cornus, as it is believed to ward of negative energy and the highlight of hiking up high mountains is to attain better luck!
We can’t forget about food when it comes to this festival! Families and friends enjoy flavoursome cakes called Chung Yeung cakes (重阳糕), also known as chrysanthemum cakes and some even call it five colour cakes. Cake (糕) in Cantonese is called “gou” and hold the same meaning as high and people eat them in essence to be promoted to a higher position. These cakes are made out of rice flour and sugar, can either be steamed or baked and often decorated almonds, jujube and chestnuts.
This Chung Yeung Festival, make the most of it by heading on out, hiking to the top of a mountain, having a small picnic, enjoying some Chung Yeung Cake or even take this public holiday opportunity to fly a kite.