International Flower Delivery Blog

Flower Symbolism in Daily and Festive Culture of China

In China, flower symbolism is an essential part of human life. Images of flowers accompany the Chinese throughout life – from the cradle to the deathbed. Additionally, the symbolism of flowers is included in everyday and festive rituals, folk beliefs, proverbs, sayings, metaphors that describe specific phenomena, and even names. And, of course, flowers play a significant role in the Chinese New Year celebration.

Earlier, we talked about Lunar New Year customs, traditions, and beliefs. Today, we suggest you learn more about lucky flowers and plants and their significance to the Chinese New Year.

Holiday's Elements


Some Facts about Chinese New Year

In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.

Kozuko Okakura

The iconic and traditional red envelope with money isn’t the only symbol of the New Year; in addition, the Chinese love to give and receive flowers such as orchids, chrysanthemums, bamboo, and plums for the New Year. Though Chinese New Year takes place in January or February, they also refer to this day as the Spring Festival. Chinese believe it is the time of the year when nature awakens after a long winter and begins to come to life again.

Traditionally, the New Year in China is one of the most important and widely celebrated holidays. Preparations for the festival begin several weeks in advance, and the celebration often lasts more than two weeks. Many of the traditions involved in the Chinese New Year celebrations are to bring luck and prosperity for the next year – something very important in Chinese culture. The items used to bring and welcome luck include everything from the food to the decorations – and plants are no exception. Following the rules of flower symbolism is a significant part of the New Year celebrations.

Using Flower Symbolism for Carrying Good Luck

Red color, loud fireworks, and scarlet-colored paper decorations on houses are mandatory attributes of the Chinese New Year. And, of course, flowers play a significant role in the New Year celebration in China. Fresh flowers are a symbol of life and new beginnings, and a lot of New Year traditions are associated with them.

There is a special flower that the Chinese associate with Lunar New Year, known locally as meihua, but you might recognize it better as plum blossoms. Like poinsettias are for Christmas(you can learn more about them here), wild plum blossoms are essential for Chinese New Year.

Wild plum blossoms in winter, in the first month of the lunar calendar, at the end of January – February.  The impressive blooms emerge even when there is snow all around! Thus, meihua embodies such human qualities as strength, inflexibility, and overcoming oneself. Plum finds the strength to bloom when all other plants sleep deeply in winter.

And flowers on branches that seem lifeless embody the triumph of life and longevity. The wild plum is a symbol of the receding winter and, at the same time, an emblem of early spring. Therefore, changes in life situations for the better, the arrival of joyful days, are associated with plum blossom.

In Chinese culture, meihua is considered one of the five noble plants. And the five petals of the plum flower symbolize the five deities of good luck and represent the five foundations of happiness: well-being, nobility, longevity, good fortune, and spiritual purity.

wild plum blossom and flower symbolism


Another popular flower in China is the peony. Nowhere in the world does the peony enjoy such popularity and love as in China. The peony is revered above all other flowers, considering it a symbol of the country. It has been cultivated here for more than one and a half thousand years. In 1903, the peony became the national flower of China.

The peony is called the king of flowers there. Ordinary people were forbidden to decorate gardens with peony bushes in ancient times. The king of flowers was a symbol of aristocracy and high positions, as it personified glory, dignity, nobility, and honor.

Today, breeding peonies are available to anyone. Incredibly, in China, you can find gardens planted only with peonies with the highest rarity and one variety. The Chinese believe peonies bring happiness and luck to the house, increase wealth and preserve love. So it’s no wonder they make the perfect lucky flowers for Chinese New Year – especially red peonies! But don’t hold back on getting these luscious blooms in other shades for different occasions: white for feelings of remorse to apologize, hot pink for happiness, and yellow for new beginnings.

Flower symbolism of red peonies


Beautiful and delicate flowers that are oh-so-satisfying, orchids actually came in a close second to peonies when China was debating for its national flower. It is the quality of an orchid that makes them highly desirable, standing out with their exotic geometrically shaped petals. This exotic and elegant flower is also in high demand during Chinese New Year because of its strong significance in Chinese tradition.

In China, an orchid symbolizes childhood, tenderness, and modesty. Besides, it is a sign of a noble scholar. In ancient China, pundits highly valued this flower. Scientists and leaders liked to place these flowers in their offices and bedrooms to show their refined taste. To give an orchid or a thing with its image means to wish for the birth of “learned sons.”

While all orchids can bring about blessings, different colored orchids can have different intended meanings. Pink orchids for harmonious relationships, white for peace, and purple are said to be the most auspicious, making them ideal for the Chinese New Year.

Exotic red anturium and yellow orchids symbol of a happy and long life


Meaning Daffodils in Flower Symbolism

In China, daffodils symbolize a couple in love and a happy marriage. The image of a bowl with daffodils means a wish for an unfading life, love, happiness, and peace. This flower is another stunning symbol of the New Year. The flowering of daffodils on New Year’s Eve is a good sign, providing happiness in the coming year in China. Therefore, the custom is to grow daffodils before the New Year. The Chinese bring sprouted daffodil bulbs into the house in advance and plant them in beautiful flat vases with water, trying to calculate that the flowers bloom just for a holiday.

daffodils on New Year's Eve is a good sign

Flowers and plants can do more than just add a breath of life to spaces. They give hope, enhance romance and, in this case, attract luck too.

Bonsai for the lucky gift


Since Chinese New Year is quickly approaching, don’t forget to send your faraway friends and family unique flowers or plants that’ll bring blessings to them all year long.


  • Want more lucky flowers and plants to bring in this Chinese New Year? Browse our catalog and choose a flower gift that will carry good luck to your faraway loved ones.
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