On September 9th (on the Chinese calendar, technically), we traditionally celebrate the “Double Yang Festival.”
Odd numbers are said to have yang characteristics – being “of the sun,” they are believed to have positive, active, and overt nature. And the number nine, being the biggest of single-digit odd numbers, is said to have the most yang characteristics. With September being the ninth month of the year, the ninth day has two nine’s… or two yang numbers, hence, double yang.
In ancient time, people worried that there were too much yang on this day… positive is good, but too much positivity can be harmful! So they tried to protect themselves from harm by taking in and/or putting on what were believed to assure immortality. The most popular were drinking wine made from and wearing clothes sprayed with dewdrops that fell upon chrysanthemum.
Somewhere along the way, the day came to have a double meaning – the worries of harm lessened, and the want for immorality turned into wish for health and prosperity. It became a day to celebrate, rather than to fear, what life has to offer.
Then, further down the line, the day became more and more forgotten. Nowadays, we have science and technology to help us gain longer life expectancies and greater economic growth. We no longer need to wish for health and prosperity, we can create them ourselves. So we busy ourselves chasing after these goals that seem to be more and more attainable with time.
But where will living our lives on the double take us in the future?
Maybe going forward twice or more faster than in the olden days will give rise to new kinds of harm?
But maybe moving too fast, we can only catch sight of the positive sides of the things we do and fail to see their negative sides?
And maybe pushing along so fast, we will not even notice ourselves spinning out of control?
Then, maybe it is time we did a double take on the way we live.
Maybe today is as good as any to take a moment from our busy lives and give a second glance at the things we may have zipped by.
Maybe we will find our lives doubly enjoyable by doing so.
If you decide to take a moment to slow down a bit, I have just the thing to go along. Here’s to your health and prosperity:
A glass of chrysanthemum wine – not in the traditional way, but I like how the flower looks like it is floating on water… like the name of this site!