There is a festival in China that has seventeen hundred years of history. It is called the Double Ninth, or Double Yang Festival. It is on the 9th day of the 9th month of the lunar calendar. The reason it is also called Double Yang Festival is because the number 9 represents Yang as in Yin/Yang.
Note that all odd numbers are Yang and all even numbers are Yin. For example, the number 6 represents Yin, the number 9 represents Yang.
The traditional festival is a special day where families gather together to hike up a mountain, wear a certain plant around their arm, drink chrysanthemum wine, all in order to avoid a certain plague. It is also one of four special days in a year that people go to their ancestors’ graves to pay their respects. In modern times, the governments both in Mainland China and Taiwan have renamed the festival “Seniors’ Day”. People are to honor and to help their older family members, especially on this day of year.
Due to new technological advances in medicine, many people nowadays live to the ripe old age of 80 or more. And sometimes, we see people living in their own homes even into their 90s. But we also see many problems with those who are elderly. Some need to take a handful of medications, need to wear oxygen masks, and indeed have fragile mental health. Some even wish that they can access euthanasia to avoid a long drawn out march to death. A senior friend who lives in the nursing home says to me, “I am just waiting for death. Nothing to look forward to now.”
Why should life have such a poor ending? What will give someone the will to not only live well, but with a spirit of bravery and courage? How can one get that Yang Chi (energy) to face old age? What is that Yang Chi (energy) that we desperately need yet is so hard to find?