Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, October 9 – Today was the Chongyang or Double Ninth Festival in China. It is the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar. The common word for nine is “jiu”, which also is the way the word for “long” is pronounced, and “jiu jiu” means “forever.” Because of this, the day was always a time for worshiping ancestors. Today, because of its symbolism for longevity, it is Seniors Day. Younger generations are supposed to show respect to the elderly and make it a special day for them. A very old tradition on this day is to climb mountains. 1500 years ago in China, during the Tang Dynasty, poets often wrote about climbing mountains and it was/is believed that by doing so, disease could be prevented. I remember when we were in Guilin a few years ago and had two elderly women accompany us up Moon Hill, they were in far better physical shape than I was! They said they climbed the mountain a couple times a week. Today’s picture was taken by my friend, Nancy Liang, when she and her daughter climbed Nanshan Mountain in Shenzhen this morning. Since chrysanthemums are blooming at this time of year, they are always admired during the festival, and Chrysanthemum wine is usually enjoyed. The festival can also be called the Height Ascending Festival or the Chrysanthemum Festival.