Much like how Christmas trees and holly flowers are iconic symbols during the December season, the Lunar New Year is also celebrated with colourful floral decor. Come January, stores and houses are usually decked with red and orange as folks hang up ang pow accessories and blast festive music in preparation for the big day.
But like many things in Chinese culture, the tangerine trees and cherry blossoms serve more than just aesthetic purposes as they carry deep significance and symbolism for the new year ahead.
Here’s a guide to a list of the most common fruits and flowers you’ll see this Chinese New Year.
1. Mandarin Oranges
Small and juicy, mandarin oranges are usually bought in boxes and cartons in preparation for the celebration because they’re used everywhere – for decoration, for visiting, and for gift exchanges.
Mandarin orange is pronounced as kam in Cantonese, which happens to be a pun on luck and fortune. The fact that oranges come in multiples is also a symbol of abundance and wealth. According to Chinese belief, the more mandarin oranges one places around the house, the more luck one will receive in the new year.
As decor, potted tangerine plants are also placed near doorways or entrances as they help to attract good fortune for those who pass through them.
A seasonal fruit, one will find pomelos at its best just before Chinese New Year. As a whole, the juicy citrus fruit represents family unity, but they are more commonly decorated as a pair to bring good luck to the household. After all, the popular saying goes that all good things must come in pairs.
3. Grapes, Plums and Dates
Similar in shape and colour, these fruits are representations of wealth, fortune, gold, prosperity and fertility. Though dates are often used in cooking, grapes and plums are used more often as holy offerings in Buddhist temples or during religious ceremonies.
Hardy yet delicate, orchids are a popular option for gifting during the festive season as they represent fertility and abundance. In China, they’re gifted to people with hopes of them having many children in the future.
With a variety of colours and species, consumers are spoilt for choice with their orchid selection. However, as they usually sit on the higher end of the price scale, they have also come to be symbols of luxury.
2. Peach Blossom
Branches of them are placed in tall vases around the house as these soft pink flowers represent romance, prosperity and growth.
As Chinese New Year generally falls in the eve of Valentine’s season, peach blossoms are usually given to single folks who need a little nudge in the department of love and relationships. They say that by decorating these around the house, it encourages one’s luck in love to grow in the year ahead.
More than just flowers to infuse aromatic tea, chrysanthemums in all their colours are considered auspicious flowers of the season for they symbolise wealth, prosperity and longevity.
The golden species is particularly favoured for its colour as it is said to invite wealth and abundance into one’s life. For those looking to improve the numbers on their bank accounts, displaying chrysanthemums is highly encouraged.
Associated with femininity, beauty and innocence, pink peonies are also known as the ‘flower of riches and honor’. The red ones, however, are popular due to the auspicious colour. Some folks believe that peonies are also an ideal gift when wooing a woman, perhaps due to the attractiveness of the flower.
5. Lucky Bamboo
Like the name suggests, this low-maintenance plant is full of good energy. The twisted stalks represent a number of good fortune depending on how many one displays. Two stalks are said to represent lasting love, five to signify wealth, seven to hope for good health and ten to mean perfection in everything.
In most Chinese households, one will find Lucky Bamboo tied with red ribbons and other auspicious accessories to increase the luck it supposedly brings to the family.
6. Money Plant
Wealth and prosperity are two highly-valued ideals in Chinese culture, and the money plants, perhaps due to its coin-like leaves are said to help attract good fortune and luck into the house.
In addition to being auspicious plants, they are also beneficial in filtering out toxins from the air, which makes it a win-win situation for the auspicious new year.
Auspicious Decorations To Bring In Good Luck
Whether you believe in the power of these everyday fruits and flowers, there’s no denying that they do add a touch of colours to brighten up our living spaces.
If you are hoping for a 2020 that is blessed with new opportunities, good relationships and wealthy abundances, then there’s no harm placing a few potted flowers around the house for all the auspicious energy it can bring to the new year.