2015…Year of the Goat/Sheep…..Symbols change but the Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is about good fortune, decorations, family time, fireworks and the Parade. It is my seventh year in Hong Kong and to me it is the fragrance and colors of flowers and fruits that lend an incandescent touch to the celebrations. 2012 was the year of the water dragon when I posted this write-up and not much has changed except more visitors and non visible tarmacs and pavements and ‘hello’. 2015 is also the year of many first…the first push and shove, infact thrice in 20 seconds, never experienced before, and more shopping and eating avenues.
The tradition has continued down decades when “All during the day and especially the last evening of the old year the streets crowded with ……cheerful, happy, hurrying humanity most eager to purchase flowers for home, boat, shop …”
2015 is no different and profusion of flowers transform Hong Kong into a land of sylvan dreams. The symbolic bouquet includes the Narcissus or the Water Fairy Flower, supposed to blossom exactly on New Years day to bring good fortune for the entire year.
So is the Pussy Willow, the flower for prosperity or as the stall owner said ‘it would rain gold”.
The other harbingers of luck and contentment are Azaleas, Peach blossoms for growth, prosperity and romance, Chrysanthemums, Orchids, Sunflowers, Forsythia, Plum blossoms symbolizing perseverance and reliability, two traits needed for success in life and the Peony, especially the red, for love and affection.
Fruits, like flowers, are equally popular especially the Kumquat. In Chinese, Kam Gat Shu, resonates with words for gold and luck. The Kumquat tree is the symbolic ‘Christmas’ tree in homes and commercial places.