Bright lights, colourful lanterns, parades, music, and the night air punctuated with the sounds of firecrackers flashing across the sky! Lunar New Year is one of the most exciting events of the year. Lunar New Year consists of fifteen days of festivities and dedicated ceremonies. It is also one of the longest New Year celebrations in the world. Lunar New Year flowers are popular, as are many traditional ways to celebrate this wonderful time of year.
So, what is Lunar New Year? How is this event celebrated? Why are flowers and their meanings so significant during this time of year? This article will delve into all of these questions and more. Including the best Lunar New Year flowers to give as gifts and their meanings.
When is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, falls on a different day each year, usually towards the end of January or the beginning of February, because its date is based on the lunar calendar. This year, Lunar New Year falls on Saturday 10th February, and it will be the Year of the Dragon – more specifically, Wood Dragon. So- happy Year of the Dragon!
In contrast to a number of other East Asian countries, the Chinese community celebrates New Year on the second new moon after the beginning of the new lunar year and not the first new moon. This is due to the slightly different way in which the Chinese lunar calendar counts the lunar months.
Lunar New Year Traditions
Lunar New Year is the most important festival on the Chinese calendar. Every year hundreds of millions of people from across the country travel back home to reunite with loved ones, visit family, and celebrate the New Year. The result is the largest human migration in the world.
Lunar New Year festivities last until the appearance of the first full moon of the lunar calendar. Culminating in the Lantern Festival. Over the course of the 15-day celebration, families visit each other. They also share food, exchange gifts, pray, and carry out other religious ceremonies.
The festival’s is at the start of the Lunar New Year. Which means it is time for farmers to begin the planting season. By praying for a good harvest and spiritually cleansing themselves of any bad luck from the previous year.
Avoiding Poverty and Bad Luck
In the days leading up to Lunar New Year, people clean their houses from top to bottom. Making sure that they get rid of all the dust. The Mandarin the word for ‘dust’ sounds like the word for ‘old’. Which relates to bad luck from the previous year.
Cleaning is forbidden on the first day of the New Year. Therefore it must be completed by midnight on the previous day. This is because the New Year is supposed to usher in good luck. Therefore, dusting and cleaning, or even washing dishes, on New Year’s day specifically will sweep the luck away. But cleaning can resume on the second day of the Lunar New Year. Some people resume cleaning on the third day of the Lunar New Year. This is due to the believe that the good luck has been attracted already.
Washing or the cutting of hair is not allowed during Lunar New Year celebrations. Using scissors or knives, breaking crockery, making hospital visits, lending or borrowing money, arguing, or taking medicine. All of these are related to hindering or chasing away good luck.
Inviting Wealth and Good Fortune
To bring good luck and prosperity, families eat specific foods, such as dumplings. In addition they eat fish, and rice cakes, display oranges or tangerines, wear new clothes and set off firecrackers. The most significant practise is the hand out of red envelopes. These envelopes are filled with money and gifted to children, as well as unmarried family members.
The luckiest colours in Chinese culture are red, green, and yellow/orange. However, red is traditionally the colour of choice for most celebrations. It symbolises good fortune and happiness. It’s customary for people whose animal sign is the same as the one of the New Year to wear red during the celebrations.
Lunar New Year in Melbourne
Many of the Asian and Chinese communities in Melbourne have a long and proud history of celebrating Lunar New Year. Offering a slew of activities, including market and food stalls, traditional folk music, cultural performances. Not to mention boat races, outdoor cinema, a countdown event, and spectacular fireworks. Lovers of classical music can also enjoy a night at the opera. Featuring performances by artists of Chinese descent at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
The city buzzes with activity and events that take place in various suburbs, from Point Cook to Ballarat, Bendigo, and, of course, throughout the CBD. As exciting as this time is, most members of the Chinese community also make sure to have a reunion dinner with their family on New Year’s eve where they exchange gifts and, for some, it’s the only chance they get to see some family members all year.
Flowers are one of the most important gifts during Lunar New Year. Flowers represent good luck and fresh beginnings. Therefore they are found everywhere during the celebrations: adorning shops and offices, inside homes as decoration, in religious ceremonies, and given as gifts to loved ones.
The Best Lunar New Year Flowers
In Chinese culture, a flower is not just a flower. They have specific meanings based on their shape, colour, and history. Therefore, when gifting flowers during a particularly auspicious time as Lunar New year, it is important to know what they symbolise to avoid sending the wrong message. Below are the best flowers to give for Lunar New Year and their meanings.
Elegant, delicate, and beautiful, orchids are the most popular flowers for Lunar New Year. Not only do they represent wealth and sophistication, but they also carry an additional meaning of love, unity, and fertility. Known in Mandarin as Lan Hua, orchids are great gifts for weddings, baby showers, and to young married couples.
Additionally, with their connection to grace, beauty, and affection, orchids are also ideal gifts for that special someone or a friend that you adore. Given that they are so high in demand during Lunar New Year, be sure to order yours early to avoid disappointment. Flowers Across Melbourne have a wide variety of exquisite orchids for you to choose from, ranging from exotic bouquets to potted, gift-wrapped, and boxed orchids. With Flowers Across Melbourne, you can place your order even a month before you want them delivered or, alternatively, opt for same-day delivery.
Narcissus or Chinese Sacred Lily
Naturally blooming in China in January and February – but during the summer in Melbourne – the Narcissus is a particularly auspicious flower for Lunar New Year. Its flowering is often an indication of winter coming to an end and Chinese people believe that it is especially lucky when it blooms on the first day of Lunar New Year as it signifies abundance in the year to come. Therefore, some people go to great lengths to grow the plant’s bulbs indoors during the winter in order to ‘encourage’ them to grow and flower early.
Also known as the Good Luck Lily or the Water Fairy Flower, the Narcissus is actually not a lily at all but a daffodil. It is commonly planted through its bulbs or via division and its delightful fragrance gently infuses the space that it is in, setting a lovely mood for a heart-warming time with family and friends.
Referred to as the ‘monarch of flowers’ in Chinese culture, the peony is central to Lunar New Year. It symbolises peace, prosperity, and charm and occurs in both pink and red colours. The red ones, of course, are deemed the more auspicious of the two. Peonies are so associated with Lunar New Year that they are printed on the cover of most red envelopes that are handed out during the celebrations.
Create an even greater wow factor by arranging your peonies in one of our specially designed vases. Not only will the vase amplify the peonies’ beauty, but it’s also a lasting gift that the receiver will continue to enjoy for many years to come.
To usher in wealth and prosperity to a home, consider gifting someone kalanchoes. They come in various colours, ranging from yellow and white to lilac, pink, and orange, but it is the red coloured kalanchoe that is in greatest demand during Lunar New Year. Their vibrant bountiful blooms and compact size means that they effortlessly brighten up the room while not taking up much space at all.
In order to enhance their longevity and overall presentation, consider placing the kalanchoes in a planter. This way your loved one will be able to tend to the kalanchoes even after Lunar New Year and attract wealth and prosperity throughout the year.
The other auspicious colour in Chinese culture, apart from red, is deep green because it resembles the colour of the jade stone, which is highly valued in Chinese culture. Therefore, the jade plant with its shiny evergreen leaves that remain vibrant throughout the year and are shaped like coins is one of the most highly sought after plants during Lunar New Year. It is believed to attract nobility, enduring wealth, and good fortune.
In a slightly unique twist to custom, it is the yellow and orange chrysanthemums, instead of the red variety, that are gifted and considered lucky during Lunar New Year. Due to their resemblance to gold, the orange chrysanthemums symbolise wealth and prosperity, while the yellow ones represent longevity and are typically given to older family members.
For a more personal touch, add a handwritten card or gift tag to your gift of chrysanthemums. Your older relatives will certainly appreciate this thoughtful gesture.
So, Happy Year of the Dragon
Lunar New Year is one of the most significant and beloved celebrations in Chinese culture. With exhilarating activities and events, it is an eagerly anticipated occasion that also presents an opportunity to start afresh, to do away with the old – mentally, emotionally, and materially – and to welcome the new.
Symbolism and gifts play a huge role in the celebrations and flowers are one of the most auspicious gifts to give during this time – particularly orchids. Flowers Across Melbourne have a wide selection of orchids to satisfy your needs. Place your order today and celebrate Lunar New Year with Flowers Across Melbourne.