Beijing, Oct 4 (EFE).- Citizens of Hong Kong woke up Tuesday to visit and sweep the graves of their loved ones for the Chung Yeung Festival, in one of the most important traditions in the financial hub.
Also known as the Double Ninth Festival, because it is celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, it has its roots in the Confucian principle of filial piety.
For this reason, people respect the resting place of their ancestors to show their virtue within Chinese culture, to the point that the wealthiest families of the former British colony spend astronomical sums in locations conducive to the rest of their relatives.
The practice of grave sweeping, like many other traditions within Chinese culture, is full of rules to follow and taboos to avoid for the correct development of customs.
Among them, the amount of incense to be burned, the menu of the offering banquet, which cannot include game meat as it is considered disrespectful to the gods, how to place chopsticks in the bowl of rice offered in the tombs and the amount and type of alcohol to place in the grave.
In this last section, the chrysanthemum liqueur stands out, considered a symbol of vitality and good fortune at this time.
But not everything is reduced to respect for the ancestors, since the origin of the tradition also invites people to go hiking in the mountain.
The Chung Yeung Festival has been celebrated for more than two millennia and has its origins in the legend of the demon-slaying warrior Huan Jing.
It tells how the young man faced a demon on the ninth day of the ninth month after protecting the people from him by taking them to the top of a mountain, making them drink chrysanthemum liquor and giving them a dogwood leaf.
In Mandarin Chinese, the word “forever” is pronounced in the same way as two nines, “jiu jiu,” and hence lies the link between Chongyang (as it is known in China) and the Longevity Festival, an association the Chinese government institutionalized in 1989. It decreed that this day would henceforth be the day of the ancestors.
Taiwan declared it the Day of the Elderly in 1966, highlighting the opportunity that the festival provides to care for and appreciate the elderly.
Today, the Chung Yeung Festival is a public holiday in Hong Kong and Macao, and in mainland China it falls in the middle of the National Day holiday week this year that started Saturday. EFE