File photo shows people picking cornels. [Photo by Cui Peilin/Asianewsphoto]
Wearing cornel twigs (Dogwood)
The cornel (dogwood) is a species of evergreen arbor, which is a heavy-scented plant whose fruit is edible and stock and leaves can be medicinal materials. They can expel insects, get rid of the humidity, help digestion and cure inner heat. It puts out purple flowers in spring and bears in autumn, purplish-brown fruit that is sour and mild in nature.
The custom of wearing cornel twigs (dogwoods) was already very popular in the Tang Dynasty (618-907); an imperial edict made it an official day off for common people. Ancient people believed that planting cornel twigs on Double Ninth Festival could prevent diseases and avoid disasters. They also wore the cornel twigs on their arms or heads or put them in sachets. Most people that follow the custom are women and children, and in some places men also wear them. During the Song Dynasty, people sent each other colorful silk cut into cornel twigs or chrysanthemum and wore them.