Tangerines and Oranges - Chinese New Year Symbols - Tangerine Recipe

Tangerines & Oranges: Chinese New Year Symbols
Tangerines & Oranges: Chinese New Year Symbols | Source

Chinese New Year Celebration

Chinese culture is rich with symbolism. This is especially true when it comes to Chinese New Year celebration, which is associated with many symbols and customs.

Despite the fact that some Chinese, especially the youngsters, have adapted to a more 'western' lifestyle, the old traditions and customs are still being practiced, albeit adapted to present day's environment.

Chinese New Year Symbols

Certain colors, fruits, flowers, animals, action and sounds, are examples of things that have special symbolic meaning.

Since Chinese New Year is a major festival celebrated by Chinese people, these symbols are even more significant. To make it auspicious, the Chinese will adorn their houses with these symbols.

Oranges are one of the fruits that are part of the Chinese New Year symbol.
Oranges are one of the fruits that are part of the Chinese New Year symbol. | Source

Why are Tangerines and Oranges part of Chinese New Year Symbols?

Tangerines and oranges are one of these auspicious Chinese New Year symbols.

Tangerines in Chinese language sound similar to the word "luck" and orange sounds like the Chinese word for "wealth". Through the play of words, the Chinese is associating the gift of orange and tangerine as having an abundance of happiness and prosperity.

The bright orange color of the fruits also symbolizes 'gold'; hence it has an auspicious meaning to bring in good luck and wealth.

This is a very important factor for the Chinese new year celebration.

Hence, you will find tangerine and orange fruits, being displayed in houses, offices and shops as they believe it will usher in good fortune for the occupants.

They are also served to guests as well as given as gifts to family members and friends.

Can you also display the Tangerine and Orange trees?

Besides displaying tangerine and orange fruits, displaying the potted plant is another common way to usher in the prosperity.

They are normally placed at a doorway or within the common area such as the main reception lobby of shops or offices, or within the living room.

Tangerines and Oranges: Miniature orange trees for the Chinese New Year celebration
Tangerines and Oranges: Miniature orange trees for the Chinese New Year celebration | Source

Miniature orange trees

This potted plant usually comes in the form of a miniature orange tree.

Miniature orange trees for Chinese New Year are mainly cultivated in China. They are then exported to countries with large Chinese populations who will buy them for the Chinese New Year.

Good as a decorative item

These ornamental orange trees are very popular and prices vary according to the quality, type and tree sizes. They usually come in heights varying from 1.5 feet (0.45 meter) to 7.9 feet (2.4 meter).

They look nice and you may be tempted to eat. Don't! They are cultivated mainly as a decorative item and the plant is infused with a high dosage of fertilizer and fruit inducing hormone.

The orange fruit is, therefore, not recommended for eating.

Tangerines and Oranges: This orange tree is small enough for the reception counter, which is ideal for an office, for Chinese  New Year
Tangerines and Oranges: This orange tree is small enough for the reception counter, which is ideal for an office, for Chinese New Year | Source
Hundreds of the half ripe orange plant waiting to be sold for Chine New Year celebration
Hundreds of the half ripe orange plant waiting to be sold for Chine New Year celebration | Source
Orange fruits and the branches tied securely due to extra weights makes a n attractive plant for Chinese New Year
Orange fruits and the branches tied securely due to extra weights makes a n attractive plant for Chinese New Year | Source

Buying Potted Orange Trees

The Chinese will normally buy the tree in pairs as they believe it will double their wealth and prosperity.

As the plant is 'engineered' to bloom and ripe perfectly during the Chinese new year season, there may, however, be a few that might have ripened too early for the celebration. Hence, it is important that you choose, depending on when you buy, trees that are healthy and loaded with many semi ripe oranges. You do not want to buy trees with fully ripe fruits that will not last over the two-week Chinese New Year celebration. In fact, you should buy the tree that will bloom gloriously over a one-month period.

As I had mentioned earlier, the tree has been given an overdose of fertilizer and fruit inducement hormones, so that it will bear lots of fruits. These extra weights can be too much for the tree branches. Hence, the tree branches and fruits are normally tied neatly to provide support as well as to create a nice decorative/aesthetic look.

Once you bring the plant home from the nursery, make sure you water it daily, but do not over water them. They love the sun, so place them in the sunniest location within your premises. Or take them out for at least an hour of full 'sunlight bath'.

Tangerine Recipes

For a change, why don't you have Coconut and Tangerine Salad and Fresh Tangerine Cake as part of your Chinese New Year dishes.

For Coconut & Tangerine Salad recipe, visit Martha Stewart food website and for the Fresh Tangerine Cake, visit food network website (recipe by Paula Deen).

May you Have Lots of Wealth and Prosperity

So don't forget to display the tangerine or orange trees or your freshly baked Fresh Tangerine Cake in your homes and offices to bring in wealth and prosperity!

Read other articles on Chinese Cultures and Festivals

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Comments 6 comments

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi sgbrown, good to hear from you again. Next time you visit a Chinese family for the Chinese New Year Celebration, bring your unmarried children or grandchildren along, they will get oranges and the ang-pow as well(red packet with money)!!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

I found this hub very interesting. My husband and I were invited to join a Chinese family for their new year celebration. Were were given tangerines and told that they were for good luck and prosperity. We didn't realize at the time how much meaning they held. Thank you for sharing your information here. Voted up and useful! Have a prosperous day! :)


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

Thanks Riviera Rose for dropping by. Chinese New Year is today, so Kung Hei Fat Choi to you too.


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 4 years ago from South of France

Loved this hub, especially as I used to live in Hong Kong and remember all the miniature tangerine and orange trees outside people's doors. I have some of my own now (I'm in France) but had lost sight of the symbolism, so it was great to be reminded. Kung Hei Fat Choi to you!


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia Author

Thanks Angie for dropping by. Check out nursery nearest your house if they sell the trees, nice to know if such trees are exported to UK.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Fascinating hub, Greatstuff ... I never realised this. I don't know that I'll ever need the knowledge but I've filed it away in my memory just in case ... lol.

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