Following a spate of work for Chinese clients we thought a short piece celebrating the Chinese autumnal festivals was appropriate as light relief from the legal discussions.
Autumn is traditionally the time for festivals and celebrations. As the summer comes to an end, this is hopefully the time for bountiful harvests and a chance to celebrate a hard summer’s work.
The Chinese culture is no exception. We have just passed the Mid-Autumn Festival (zhōngqiū jié) which celebrates the beauty of the moon and the coming of autumn. The next festival is affectionately named the Double Ninth festival. This is a festival to celebrate the blossoming of the chrysanthemums and a day to show appreciation and respect for our seniors.
Traditions include hiking in the mountains and eating double ninth cake. This is a light rice cake filled with sweet red bean paste. These cakes are usually given as gifts to senior members of the family and the community.
This celebration is dedicated to those in our life who have experienced the world as it once was. This goes beyond our immediate grandparents and family. It gives everyone a chance to reflect on the history of their people and their country, a chance not many have these days. Maybe this festival is best summarised by a popular Chinese poem often quoted at this time of year:
Human beings grow old fast while Nature ages nay
The Double Nine Fest appears year after year
Tis the Double Nine again today
Yellow blooms in the battlefield their fragrance stray
Autumn gales feature a special show once a year
Unlike the splendours of spring
But more elegant than the show of spring
Behold how pure frost in the wilderness paints
Double Nine Festival – Mao Zedong (written in 1927)
Or, in the original:
采桑子 重阳 1929年秋 毛泽东(1893～1976)