Tangerine (or more accurately ‘Four Seasons Lime’) bushes are everywhere, having popped up all over Hong Kong shortly before the CNY festivities commenced. Some are decorated with red packets, some are just bushes in pots, and some are large bushes which have been decorated with strings of fruit, as if there weren’t enough actual bushes to go around. There seem to be at least two at the entrance to almost every building at the moment. But why?!
Most Chinese New Year decorations are steeped in the symbolism and superstition which is particularly rife at this time of year, when certain auspicious decorations are believed to confer good fortune for the year ahead. The Four Seasons Lime potted plants are sold once a year and are viewed as a total must-have decoration. The small fruits symbolize gold nuggets and and are expected to bring with them abundant good luck and wealth for the year for those who place them at the doorway or within the living room. Kumquat and mandarin plants also play a similar role in the celebrations.
Other Traditional Decorations
There are many other auspicious plants popular at this time of year, which I will show in my final CNY post about the flower markets. Here at Pacific View we have trees made from plum blossom (which looks a lot like cherry blossom but comes into season earlier in the year), which are common CNY decorations, symbolising (as a winter flowering tree) beauty in adversity, good fortune and longevity.
Dragon dances, traditionally performed to scare away evil spirits and ill-fortune are, perhaps unsurprisingly, extremely popular over CNY. Even most of the apartment blocks will bring out their own dragon to dance among smoke and beating drums to bring good fortune for the inhabitants.