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Chinese Symbols and Meanings - Plum Blossoms and Water Narcissus Chinese New Year Symbols of Prosperity
Chinese Symbols and Meanings
Chinese New Year is the time of the year to usher in fortune and prosperity and to observe its ancient traditions and to avoid its taboos. There are several Chinese symbols and meanings to these old practices such as no yellow and white chrysanthemums allowed in the house since it is associated with funerals and mournings. Pear is another bad symbols as it is associated with separation and divorce.
Chinese Symbol of Prosperity
But to wear or display anything red is auspicious as it will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune.
To have tangerines and oranges in homes and offices is another good Chinese symbol of prosperity since it brings happiness and prosperity.
Animal figurines depicted in the Chinese zodiac and certain favorable flowers displayed as part of the home and office decors are auspicious.
Chinese New Year is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. So, these Chinese symbols and meanings are important to remember to ensure an auspicious celebration and to bring in luck the whole year.
For this article, we will explore another Chinese symbol of prosperity, the flowers but not just any flowers.
Flower a Chinese New Year Symbol
Flowers represent new growth after the long winter and when flowers start to bloom, it signifies life and good fortune. Flowers will also lead to fruits, which is another symbol associated with fortune.
If there are no flowers during Chinese New Year, it will not be auspicious. It is therefore important to have flowers as part of the decorations during Chinese New Year celebration
There are many flowers that are associated with this celebration. The plum blossom and water narcissus are two of the most popular flowers that are important Chinese New Year symbols of prosperity.
Chinese Symbols and Meanings for Plum Blossoms
Plum Blossoms are winter flowers and blooms in late winter and early spring from a tree branch that looks lifeless. Emerging from its bark is the gorgeous blooms to amaze us with its beauty and color. The fragrance will surround the air and in that cold winter, you get to enjoy the delicate scent and colorful blooms. To the Chinese, these symbolize courage, hope, beauty, purity, and prosperity.
Plum blossom is an important Chinese symbol and plays a significant role in the Chinese New Year celebration. Cut sprays of plum blossoms will be placed in homes and offices to represent beauty and hope for a fruitful and good year.
Because of its beauty and importance, plum blossom is depicted in Chinese paintings, poetry and in classical Chinese dance. It is also associated with the start of spring in China and Japan.
Trivial Info on Plum Blossoms
Plum blossom was declared the national flower for The Republic of China (Taiwan) on July 21, 1964, with the five petals representing the country's five branches of the government.
Plum Blossom Tree
The tree originated from southern part of China and is now commonly found in other parts of temperate Asian countries such as Japan and Korea, and in other parts of the world like America, Europe, and Australia.
Plum blossoms come in various shades of pink, yellow, white and red but the pink and red flowers are commonly used for Chinese New Year celebration.
Plum Blossoms vs. Cherry Blossoms
Are there any differences between plum blossoms and cherry blossoms?
Yes there are and some examples of these are:
- The Japanese called the plum blossom ume and cherry blossom sakura.
- Plum blossom will bloom late January up to February but Cherry blossom will bloom in April
- Plum blossom petals are round whilst cherry blossom petals are oval in shape
They do however have some similarities and these are:
- Five numbers of petals
- Comes in many varieties of colors
Both the plum and cherry blossoms are equally beautiful and a joy to watch during the bleak and cold winter and spring.
Feng Shui Element in Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is not just about culture and tradition. It signifies a change in the Feng Shui cycle. The animal year will change annually with new implications that take effect. To enjoy the beneficial energies and changes in the zodiac direction, you need to adjust your lifestyle, house, and office layout.
These can be expensive if you have to change and renovate with every Lunar New Year. For people with strong belief in Feng Shui elements, the changes are mandatory. For the rest of us, made do with small adjustments and adorn your house with auspicious items such as flowers, instead.
Chinese Symbols and Meanings for Water Narcissus
Water narcissus, also known as the daffodil, is a Chinese symbol of good fortune, prosperity, and good luck. If the water narcissus blossoms exactly on the Chinese New Year day, it brings prosperity and good fortune the whole year.
So, you will find water narcissus plants as part of the Chinese New Year decorations in homes and offices, in anticipation of a beautiful bloom on Chinese New Year day. Water narcissus has a sweet fragrance, another good reason to have them around.
Water Narcissus Carving
The Chinese have developed a unique art of planting water narcissus that grows in different sizes and shapes. This narcissus carving has been around for more than one thousand years and is an art that has now become popular outside of China.
The masters of narcissus carving will cut the onion-like bulb in such a way for the leaves and flowers to curl instead of growing straight.
How to Do Narcissus Carving
If you are keen to try this ancient Chinese art of narcissus carving, these are the simple but delicate steps to follow:
- Cut the narcissus bulb about half an inch deep (from about half an inch above the root)
- Remove the scales from the line cut until you can see the leaves inside the bulb
- Use a special blade or carving knife to cut open the scale until you see the flower bud
- Be very careful not to damage these leaves and/or flower buds
- Trim these scales for both sides until it is half out
- If you opt to remove the scale from the top half (above the cut line) then keep the lower half in the scale (or vice versa)
- If you want a curving leaf, cut not more than half of the leave
- If you want a curving stem, do a small tiny scratch on the stem
- Then soak this bulb facing down in water for five days. Change water daily
- Finally, get your desired bowl or vase and place this bulb with water at the same level as the roots. Place pebbles, rocks etc. around this bulb
Change water every 3-4 days and place it near a sunlit area. You will get to enjoy your labor of love in about a month but in a warmer weather, it blooms earlier.
Other Flowers for Good Chinese New Year Symbols
If you live in tropical countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia, to decorate your homes and offices with fresh plum blossoms or water narcissus is expensive as they are temperate plants.
So, some people use the artificial versions instead.
There are also other flowers that grow well in tropical countries that are auspicious for Chinese New Year. These are sunflowers, pussy willows, and azalea.
Chinese Symbols and Meanings
The significance and meanings associated with these flowers are:
- Sunflower is associated with having a good year
- Pussy Willow has multiple fluffy blossoms and is associated with bountiful fortune
- Red Azalea is associated with balance in life, harmony, and happiness
(Note: Although these flowers are temperate flowers, they do grow well in the tropical country. But they may not be as large as those grown in temperate countries.)
Luck and Fortune all Year Round
It is important to know of the Chinese symbols and meanings so that you give an auspicious gift to Chinese friends when you visit them for Chinese New Year.
But why wait for the Lunar New Year to give these flowers or to have them in your homes or offices. Bring luck and good fortune all year round now, with plum blossoms, water narcissus, pussy willows, azalea, and sunflowers.
How to Make Your Own Plum Blossom
© 2013 Mazlan