Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

‘Peach’ blossom for Chinese New Year

Artificial ‘peach’  (Chinese plum, Prunus mume) blossom decorating Loon Fung Supermarket, Gerrard Street, Soho London, for the Chinese New Year, 1 February 2022.  It is believed that the Chinese New Year was first celebrated in Gerrard Street in 1971.  Usually the main event is held on the Sunday after New Year’s Day; this year the event was cancelled, but a small event, with two lions, took place on the Day.

Other premises were decorated with either peach blossom or tangerine (Citrus reticulata) plants, and the peach blossom had been removed from the supermarket when the Street was visited on 2 February.

For further information see earlier posts on this website.

Addendum:  My Garden, ‘an intimate magazine for garden lovers’, no. 122, February 1944, contains a passage written by the wife of the Chinese revolutionary leader Chiang Kai-Shek, quoted from Florence Ayscough’s Chinese Women: Yesterday and Today (1937):  ‘On New Year’s Eve, my husband and I took a walk in the surrounding mountains.  We discovered a tree of white plum blossom, flowering profusely.  What an omen of good luck!  In Chinese literature the five petals of the winter plum portend the five blessings of joy, good luck, longevity, prosperity, and (to us most desired of  all) peace!  The General carefully plucked a few branches  and carried them home.  When our evening candles were lighted, he presented them to me in a little bamboo basket – a New Year’s gift.  The peach blossoms had looked graceful and lovely on the tree, but massed in the basket by candlelight they took on an undescribable beauty’

Edited 24 November 2022.

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