This year, the Double Ninth Festival falls on October 26.
The Double Ninth Festival (重阳节 Chóngyángjié), observed on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar (October 26 in 2009), is a traditional Chinese holiday, mentioned in writing since before the East Han period (thus, before AD 25).
It is said that in the ancient China, probably in Han dynasty, on September 9th(on the Lunar calendar), the emperor and his attendants would wear the zhuyu(茱萸) plant, eat the rice cakes and drink the chrysanthemum [kriˈsænθəməm] 菊花 wine to dispel 驱散 bad luck and pray for longevity [lɔnˈdʒeviti]长寿.
Double Ninth may have originated as a day to drive away danger, but like the Chinese New Year, over time it became a day of celebration. In contemporary times it is an occasion for hiking and chrysanthemum appreciation 欣赏. Stores sell rice cakes (糕 "gāo", a homophone for height 高) inserted with mini colorful flags to represent [ˌrepriˈzent] 代表 zhuyu. Most people drink chrysanthemum tea, while a few strict traditionalists drink homemade chrysanthemum wine.
Children in school learn poems about chrysanthemums, and many localities host a chrysanthemum exhibit [iɡˈzibit]展览. Mountain climbing races are also popular; winners get to wear a wreath 花环 made of zhuyu.