A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Chongyang (The Elder’s Day, Double Ninth, Senior Citizens’ Festival, Chung Yeung, 重陽, Jungyangjeol, 중양절, 重陽節,, Tết Trùng Cửu). Chinese Taoist Double Yang Festival (重陽節) celebrated since the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE) in China, also now in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam, on the ninth day (Yi Wei, 乙 未, Wood Sheep, Receive Day) of the ninth lunar month (xin chou) of the Year of the Ox (年牛年). In I Ching, Double Ninth Day has too much Yang and is thus a potentially dangerous date. By the Han Dynasty around 25 CE, people were protecting themselves by climbing towers or mountains for the Chongyang, Chrysanthemum, Height Ascending Festival, drinking chrysanthemum wine and wearing a sprig of the zhuyu (茱萸) plant cornus officinalis. Both chrysanthemum and zhuyu are considered to have cleansing qualities and are used on other occasions to air houses and cure illness. Chongyang (Flower, Chrysanthemum, Five-colour) Cake is also popular, a 9-layer cake shaped like a tower topped by two sheep made of flour, possibly with a small red flag and candles to light. The Double Ninth Festival is at a golden time of the year, the first person who purportedly enjoyed chrysanthemums and drank chrysanthemum wine during the Chongyang Festival being the poet Tao Yuanming, who lived during the Jin Dynasty (265-420). By the Tang Dynasty (618-906), wearing zhuyu during the Chongyang Festival had become very popular in the belief that it helped avoid disasters and women wore the chrysanthemum in their hair or hung branches in windows and doors to ward off evil. During the Song Dynasty (907-960) the chrysanthemum was very popular. After the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), the chrysanthemum was popular at other times, Chongyang kites were flown and a golden pig was shared by large families with fruit, wine, tea and rice. As double ninth is pronounced in the same way as the word for forever, ancestors are worshipped at Chongyang. Some Chinese visit ancestors’ graves to pay their respects and burning incense sticks in normal years cause accidental grass fires in the crowded cemeteries. In Hong Kong and Macao, whole extended families go together to the ancestral graves to tidy them, repaint the inscriptions and set out offerings of food such as roast suckling pig and fruit, with these then being eaten after the spirits have consumed the spiritual elements of the foods. Image: dayfinders.com.
Prayer Today, the sky is clear, the autumn is autumn and the evening is drawing in. The birds fly southward and we admire the chrysanthemums again and again. Now is the season for chrysanthemums to shine. May your mood be as refreshing as those chrysanthemums. Happy Chongyang. Amen 阿门
Durga Puja (Durgotsava, Mahashtami). Traditional Hindu festival from 11 to 15 October, celebrated on 14 October with the recitation of prayers by Pundit religious leaders in the Devi Panchayan temple in Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital, with Covid-19 safety protocols. Hindus traditionally celebrate the puja (पूजा, festival) over ten days in October, the last five being considered to be of particular significance in the states of Assam, Tripura, Odisha and Bihar. Durga Puja is normally one of the most important festivals in West Bengal. The festival celebrates Goddess Durga’s triumph over the evil buffalo demon, Mahishasura. Durga, the embodiment of shakti, the powerful feminine force that governs all cosmic creation, existence and change, is the Hindu ten-armed supreme mother goddess responsible for the triumph of good over evil whom we meet in Diwali. She is the primary goddess revered during Durga Puja but the celebrations also include other major deities of Hinduism such as: Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity; Saraswathi, the goddess of knowledge and music; Ganesha, the god of good beginnings; and Kartikeya, the god of war. Celebration in Bangladesh 15 October, India October 15-16. Indians have more recently adopted the western-style Mother’s Day holiday celebrated on 10 May but it is still celebrated in Bangladesh at Durga Puja, as is 10 May. Image: thestarinfo.com
Heiliger Burkard (St Burchard of Würzburg, Burkhard, Burckardus) (d754). Feast Day for the Benedictine Anglo-Saxon Wessex priest and missionary to Germany, where he served from some time after 732 under St Boniface. When Boniface organised bishoprics in Middle Germany, he placed Burchard as the first Bishop of Würzburg in 741. Pope Zachary confirmed the new bishopric in 743, Burchard having been a member of the first German council in 742. Boniface sent Burchard as an envoy to Rome from 748, to seek Zachary’s approval of Pepin the Short’s accession to the Frankish throne, thus justifying the assumption of regal power by the Carolingians. After founding around 750 St Burchard’s Abbey in Würzburg, a Benedictine monastery originally known as the Abbey of St Andrew’s, Burchard resigned from his see in 751, retired to Hamburg to dedicate himself to a monastic life of solitude and died in Würzburg three years later. In 1464, St Burchard’s Abbey was transformed into a Stift (Electorate-Archbishopric) and, since the dissolution of the Stift in 1803, the abbey church has been the parish church St Burchard. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Orthodox Churches. Image: de.wikipedia.org.