Holiday of the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month(重陽節)

Holiday of the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month

Headword

중양절 ( 重陽節 , Jungyangjeol )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Autumn > 9th Lunar month > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JungSeungmo(鄭勝謨)

Jungyang refers to a date where the number of the lunar month and the day are the same and both are odd. Such days in fengshui are considered full of positive energy and include the third of the third month, the fifth of the fifth month, the seventh of the seventh month, and the ninth of the ninth month. Among these days, the ninth of the ninth month is considered the most important and is referred to as Jungyangjeol (Kor. 중양절, Chin. 重陽節, holiday of the ninth day of the ninth lunar month). Depending on the region, the holiday may also be called Junggu (Kor. 중구, Chin. 重九) or Gwil (Kor. 귈). Koreans believe that on Jungyangjeol swallows that have come to the peninsula on the third of the third lunar month start their journey southward. Around this time farmers harvest their last crops.

The kings of Silla (BCE 57 - CE 935) convened a special meeting of their court attendants on Jungyangjeol while in the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392) the day was celebrated with festivities at the royal court. During the Joseon Period (1392-1910) in the reign of King Sejong (1397-1450), Jungyangjeol was declared a national holiday, along with Jungsam (Kor. 중삼, the third of the third lunar month). Jungyangjeol was considered so important that the king ordered to move the date of giroyeon (Kor. 기로연, Chin. 耆老宴, banquet for elderly members of the court) from Chuseok (Kor. 추석, Chin. 秋夕, Harvest Festival, the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month) to this day. The gwageo (Kor. 과거, Chin. 科擧, civil service examination) was also administered on Jungyangjeol. Since the Goryeo period, sacrificial ceremonies presided over by the king were held on Jungyangjeol, along with Jeongjo (Kor. 정조, Chin. 正朝, morning of the first day of the lunar year), Dano (Kor. 단오, Chin. 端午, the fifth of the fifth lunar month), and Chuseok.

Ordinary households on this day performed ancestor memorial services and visited ancestral tombs. As Jungyangjeol was associated with positive energy, people would perform deunggo (Kor. 등고, Chin. 登高, lit. mountain climbing) on this day. One would climb a high mountain holding a pouch filled with Korean evodia blossoms. At the summit one would drink chrysanthemum wine, and throw a hat into the wind. This custom gave rise to other outdoor activities also associated with Jungyangjeol. In the Seoul area, for example, people went to nearby heights such as Namsan and Bugak Mountains for picnics and enjoyed a day outside with their families and friends. Other festive activities on Jungyangjeol included sangguk (Kor. 상국, Chin. 賞菊, lit. appreciating chrysanthemum blossoms), beomguk (Kor. 범국, Chin. 泛菊) or hwanghwa beomju (Kor. 황화범주, Chin. 黃花泛酒, drinking chrysanthemum wine or wine with floating chrysanthemum petals), and siju (Kor. 시주, Chin. 詩酒, lit. reciting poetry while drinking). As a variety of family gatherings and events were held on Jungyangjeol, government officials were granted the day off. In appreciation of the positive spirit of Jungyangjeol, no executions of criminals could take place on that day.

As Jungyangjeol occurred at the height of the chrysanthemum blossom season, many of the customs were related to this flower. People brewed chrysanthemum wine and ate chrysanthemum pancakes. A native variety of chrysanthemum, called gamguk (Kor. 감국, Chin. 甘鞠, lit. sweet chrysanthemum), was used for wine and pancakes because of the flower’s strong scent and enduring colors. Chrysanthemum pancakes, still popular today, are made by creating bite-size cakes with glutinous rice and decorating them with yellow chrysanthemum petals. The recipe is similar to azalea pancakes, which are served on the third of the third lunar month. Both chrysanthemum and azalea pancakes are referred to as hwajeon (Kor. 화전, Chin, 花煎, flower petal pancakes).

In rural communities, Jungyangjeol coincided with the final part of the harvest season. While men spent most of their time gathering crops, women planted garlic and picked sweet potatoes. All members of the household participated in draining the rice paddies, ridding the paddies of weeds including barnyard millet, and preparing manure for fertilizer. Depending on the region, picking cotton, planting seeds and harvesting dry crops such as beans, red beans, millet, African millet, white radish, and cabbage also occurred at this time. Farming households enjoyed no special respite on Jungyangjeol, due to the heavy load of fall farming chores.

As crops were often not mature enough for the Chuseok memorial services, Jungyangjeol gained importance as a second chance to offer the newly-harvested grains and fruits to ancestors’ spirits. Memorial services held on the day of Jungyangjeol were known as junggu charye (Kor. 중구차례, Chin. 重九茶禮, lit. tea-offering ceremony on Junggu). Some households conducted a service in homage to seongju (Kor. 성주, household guardian god), the chieftain of all household gods. In the Goheung area, South Jeolla Province, villagers commemorated their first annual ancestral worship service on Jungyangjeol. In the past, there was a shaman for each village or every two or three villages who performed exorcisms when needed. Communities donated money to compensate the shamans for their services on Jungyangjeol. Failing to give the shaman his or her due on Jungyang often meant a refusal of service the next time the village was struck by an inauspicious event.

The holiday also had a clear association with paying respect to the elderly and the idea of longevity. This connection can be seen in customs that include royal banquets for elderly court members and drinking chrysanthemum wine to stay healthy and live a longer life.

Holiday of the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month

Holiday of the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month
Headword

중양절 ( 重陽節 , Jungyangjeol )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Seasonal Customs > Autumn > 9th Lunar month > Seasonal Holidays

Writer JungSeungmo(鄭勝謨)

Jungyang refers to a date where the number of the lunar month and the day are the same and both are odd. Such days in fengshui are considered full of positive energy and include the third of the third month, the fifth of the fifth month, the seventh of the seventh month, and the ninth of the ninth month. Among these days, the ninth of the ninth month is considered the most important and is referred to as Jungyangjeol (Kor. 중양절, Chin. 重陽節, holiday of the ninth day of the ninth lunar month). Depending on the region, the holiday may also be called Junggu (Kor. 중구, Chin. 重九) or Gwil (Kor. 귈). Koreans believe that on Jungyangjeol swallows that have come to the peninsula on the third of the third lunar month start their journey southward. Around this time farmers harvest their last crops.

The kings of Silla (BCE 57 - CE 935) convened a special meeting of their court attendants on Jungyangjeol while in the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392) the day was celebrated with festivities at the royal court. During the Joseon Period (1392-1910) in the reign of King Sejong (1397-1450), Jungyangjeol was declared a national holiday, along with Jungsam (Kor. 중삼, the third of the third lunar month). Jungyangjeol was considered so important that the king ordered to move the date of giroyeon (Kor. 기로연, Chin. 耆老宴, banquet for elderly members of the court) from Chuseok (Kor. 추석, Chin. 秋夕, Harvest Festival, the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month) to this day. The gwageo (Kor. 과거, Chin. 科擧, civil service examination) was also administered on Jungyangjeol. Since the Goryeo period, sacrificial ceremonies presided over by the king were held on Jungyangjeol, along with Jeongjo (Kor. 정조, Chin. 正朝, morning of the first day of the lunar year), Dano (Kor. 단오, Chin. 端午, the fifth of the fifth lunar month), and Chuseok.

Ordinary households on this day performed ancestor memorial services and visited ancestral tombs. As Jungyangjeol was associated with positive energy, people would perform deunggo (Kor. 등고, Chin. 登高, lit. mountain climbing) on this day. One would climb a high mountain holding a pouch filled with Korean evodia blossoms. At the summit one would drink chrysanthemum wine, and throw a hat into the wind. This custom gave rise to other outdoor activities also associated with Jungyangjeol. In the Seoul area, for example, people went to nearby heights such as Namsan and Bugak Mountains for picnics and enjoyed a day outside with their families and friends. Other festive activities on Jungyangjeol included sangguk (Kor. 상국, Chin. 賞菊, lit. appreciating chrysanthemum blossoms), beomguk (Kor. 범국, Chin. 泛菊) or hwanghwa beomju (Kor. 황화범주, Chin. 黃花泛酒, drinking chrysanthemum wine or wine with floating chrysanthemum petals), and siju (Kor. 시주, Chin. 詩酒, lit. reciting poetry while drinking). As a variety of family gatherings and events were held on Jungyangjeol, government officials were granted the day off. In appreciation of the positive spirit of Jungyangjeol, no executions of criminals could take place on that day.

As Jungyangjeol occurred at the height of the chrysanthemum blossom season, many of the customs were related to this flower. People brewed chrysanthemum wine and ate chrysanthemum pancakes. A native variety of chrysanthemum, called gamguk (Kor. 감국, Chin. 甘鞠, lit. sweet chrysanthemum), was used for wine and pancakes because of the flower’s strong scent and enduring colors. Chrysanthemum pancakes, still popular today, are made by creating bite-size cakes with glutinous rice and decorating them with yellow chrysanthemum petals. The recipe is similar to azalea pancakes, which are served on the third of the third lunar month. Both chrysanthemum and azalea pancakes are referred to as hwajeon (Kor. 화전, Chin, 花煎, flower petal pancakes).

In rural communities, Jungyangjeol coincided with the final part of the harvest season. While men spent most of their time gathering crops, women planted garlic and picked sweet potatoes. All members of the household participated in draining the rice paddies, ridding the paddies of weeds including barnyard millet, and preparing manure for fertilizer. Depending on the region, picking cotton, planting seeds and harvesting dry crops such as beans, red beans, millet, African millet, white radish, and cabbage also occurred at this time. Farming households enjoyed no special respite on Jungyangjeol, due to the heavy load of fall farming chores.

As crops were often not mature enough for the Chuseok memorial services, Jungyangjeol gained importance as a second chance to offer the newly-harvested grains and fruits to ancestors’ spirits. Memorial services held on the day of Jungyangjeol were known as junggu charye (Kor. 중구차례, Chin. 重九茶禮, lit. tea-offering ceremony on Junggu). Some households conducted a service in homage to seongju (Kor. 성주, household guardian god), the chieftain of all household gods. In the Goheung area, South Jeolla Province, villagers commemorated their first annual ancestral worship service on Jungyangjeol. In the past, there was a shaman for each village or every two or three villages who performed exorcisms when needed. Communities donated money to compensate the shamans for their services on Jungyangjeol. Failing to give the shaman his or her due on Jungyang often meant a refusal of service the next time the village was struck by an inauspicious event.

The holiday also had a clear association with paying respect to the elderly and the idea of longevity. This connection can be seen in customs that include royal banquets for elderly court members and drinking chrysanthemum wine to stay healthy and live a longer life.