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Traditional Holidays on Ancient Chinese Calendar III
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  8/31/11
By: Yona Williams

Specific days of the lunar months of the Chinese calendar are quite important in some of the celebrations of the culture, which date back thousands of years. Some holidays commemorate the life of important figures while others focus on ancient myths, such as the tale of romance and lost love discussed in this article.

Duanwu Festival

On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the Duanwu Festival (also known as the Dragon Boat Festival) is held. The festival pays homage to an ancient poet named Qu Yuan and celebrates the legend of the White Snake Lady. The highlight of the festival is typically the dragon boat race
This is also a time to eat dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves and drink yellow rice wine. Other common activities for the festival include hanging up icons of a mythical guardian figure named Zhong Kui, hanging mugwort and calamus, wearing perfumed medicine bags, and enjoying a long walk.

The Night of Sevens

The Night of Sevens (also called the Magpie Festival) is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. The observance is based on a legend that concentrates on the goddess Zhi Nu (and the star Vega), who fell in love with a farmer boy named Niu Lang (the star Altair). Her mother goddess did not approve of this attraction and punished the young lovers.

The mother goddess separated the two by the Milky Way so that they could only meet one another one time a year, which occurred on this night. A variation of this story says that all the magpies in the world take pity on the lovers – flying up to the heavens to form a bridge that the two lovers can cross to one another. To celebrate the holiday, young girls traditionally showed off their skills in the domestic arts, such as carving a melon. On this day, they make wishes to receive a good husband.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Also known as the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. This holiday has a connection to the legend of Chang E – the Chinese goddess of the Moon. Families gather to enjoy a meal with one another and eat mooncakes. Traditions for the holiday include carrying brightly lit lanterns and hanging them on the highest points, such as roofs and treetops. Incenses are burned to pay homage to deities.

Double Ninth Festival

Observed on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, the Double Ninth Festival is a celebration meant to protect against the danger associated with having too much yang. Some people climb high mountains, wear the zhuyu plant, or drink chrysanthemum wine for a cleansing effect. Others will air out their home in an attempt to ward off sickness. This is also a time to visit the graves of ancestors to pay their respects. The Double Ninth Festival is also known as the Dual-Yang Festival or Chung Yeung Festival.


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