WHY YOU NEED TO BUY A NIPPLES [FRUIT TREE] AND PUSSYS [WILLOW]!
Chinese New Year is a very family oriented holiday, but there are fun activities that everybody should do, regardless if they celebrate Chinese New Year or not. Visiting a Chinese New Year Flower Market is on the top of my list if you’re interested to see and feel some of that atmosphere!
WHAT’S A CHINESE NEW YEAR FLOWER MARKET?
It’s basically like a night market and there is a huge section where you can buy flowers that are associated with Chinese New Year. The other sections may be filled with random stuff and food that other vendors are hoping you will buy at just out of the spur moment. Different flowers have different auspicious meaning; therefore, people will deck their house out with flowers that they buy from the Flower Market and they may give them as gifts as well. Visiting a CNY Flower Market has auspicious meaning as well – 花開富貴 – a Chinese proverb meaning that when the flowers bloom you will get food fortune.
WHAT DO THE FLOWERS MEAN?
All the flowers represent positive and fortuitous meaning. Here are some of the most popular and commonly seen flowers at the wet market.
KUMQUAT PLANTS (金桔)
You probably see these EVERYWHERE. That’s because these small tangerine-like fruits are called 金柑, which they slightly tweaked it to turn it into 金桔, which literally means “gold luck”; hence kumquat plants represents wealth, prosperity and luck.
PEACH BLOSSOMS (桃花)
Often mistakenly for cherry blossoms, but peach blossoms (tao hua) represent romance and longevity. For those single and want a significant other, there is something called a “Tao hua luck” and there are specific steps to activate your romance luck, which includes the peach blossoms blooming in the direction of your romance direction.
NIPPLE FRUIT TREE (五代同堂)
There is a more formal and technical name for the plant, which is Solanum mammosum, but where is the fun in that?!? Nipple fruit tree’s Chinese name directly translates to a Chinese Proverb that means “5 generations in the same room” or something very similar to that effect. It would also imply that be that the family would give birth to 5 generations of boys in order to carry on the family name and historically, sons were preferred to daughters. Do you need a nipple fruit tree at home?
Peonies are called 牡丹 but they are also known as 富貴花, which literally means “fortuitous flowers”; henceforth, peonies symbolize prosperity.
PUSSY WILLOWS (银柳)
Pussy willows’ Chinese name is 银柳, which directly translates to “silver willow” and sounds a lot like silver coin; therefore, pussy willows signify wealth and good luck. The plant is also quite long; therefore it can also symbolize growth. Basically a good plant to have around the house during Chinese New Year!
LUCKY BAMBOO (富贵竹)
Slightly different than the bamboo variety that Hong Kong likes to use for scaffolding, lucky bamboo are thin stalks and they are in various shapes, some even in a figure 8, which is a very lucky number in Chinese because it symbolizes wealth. The number of stalks of bamboo in the pot also represent different things, with 3 stalks being the most popular because it represents wealth, happiness and longevity.
WHERE ARE THE CHINESE NEW YEAR FLOWER MARKETS?
The 2 big main ones in Hong Kong is the Flower Market at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and the Flower Market at Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok. For more details and information on all the flower markets happening in Hong Kong, please visit here.
WHEN ARE THE CHINESE NEW YEAR FLOWER MARKETS?
Typically the markets start about a week leading up to Chinese New Year and will end in the early morning afters of Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year’s Eve nighttime after everybody has had their dinner being the most crowded day and time to go. Don’t think about even trying to walk through the market on Chinese New Year’s Eve, you will just move with the crowd and shift through the flower market. After midnight of Chinese New Year’s Eve till closing (early morning) will probably be the most amusing and entertaining to watch because the first 3 days of Chinese New Year are holidays in Hong Kong, which means, the vendors are aggressively trying to get rid of all their flowers before closing. If you’re trying to get a good deal on the flowers, go around midnight and you can experience the frantic atmosphere.
The flower markets get very very crowded during the night time where everybody wants to go experience some of that Chinese New Year atmosphere and good luck. The closer to Chinese New Year, the more crowded the flower markets yet. Do you have gifts ready for when you go “bai nian” (visit friends and family during Chinese New Year)? Make sure you check out our post for the 4 most popular gifts to bring during Chinese New Year!