Vietnam; Floral festivities; Tet,
North Vietnam ; Hanoi
The Vietnamese lunar New Year falls on February 20th 2015, the biggest holiday in Vietnam equates to our Christmas period. They celebrate with extravagant bonsai peach blossom trees, sometimes so expensive to buy that even wealthy citizens hire a tree, they can rent a large tree for around £750! You can also buy smaller, bonsai trees or at the very least cut peach blossom branches. A cheaper, acceptable alternative is the marumi kumquat tree, again available from a small bonsai pot to a large 2 meter topiaried or pyramid tree, complete with decorative fruits.
In the north the climate and economy is quite different to the south and celebrations are tailored accordingly. In the mountainous area of Sadat,2 hours north , the hillsides are covered with blossom tees whose cut branches make it to the city for New Year. But in the very heart of Hanoi city there’s a cottage industry of urban farmers cultivating the sacred peach tree, cajoling it into blossom each New Year( which may vary by a number of weeks following the lunar calendar).They grow tight alleyways of peach trees, which might be elaborately trained and clipped, they get more money for splendid specimens. Many of the trees are uprooted, and potted in giant planters and hired out for the festive period. Often transported by scooter or scooter trailer the short journey to the city pavement stores, very much like our pop up Xmas tree stalls, where they will be collected when celebrations are through, and replanted for the following year.
The peach tree has come to symbolise strength and vitality emerging when most northern flora lies dormant. There are two varieties of peach flower, 1 light and 1 dark, the latter, known as Nhat Tan, is regarded as a Hanoi’s specialty. As commonly disparate families’ journey to be together in the holiday it is a popular time to get married, alternatively brides, sometimes with their prospective grooms, will dress in full wedding regalia, up to a year ahead of their wedding day, and have their photos taken amongst the blossom, to bring good fortune to their marriage. These wedding photos are distributed at the eventual wedding.
Marumi kumquat trees are an alternative choice of festive tree, such a decorative tree, beset with fruit, flowers, leaves, branches and roots is a symbol of wealth and happiness for the New Year. The very wealthy in communist Vietnam, enjoy showing off.
In Southern Vietnam, the climate is much warmer and a golden yellow blossom tree replaces that of the North. As in the UK false blossom trees, and faux flowers persist where the real thing is unavailable.
Blossom and fruit trees are the stars but it’s a generous time for floral altar offerings to late relatives and to Vietnam’s father ‘Hoi Chi Min’. The country’s horticulture industry is geared up to produces masses of blooms, often interspersed with subsistence food crops in the north. Gaudy red for ‘health and wealth’ and ‘lucky ‘yellow flowers are preferred, they are also representative of ying and yang. Consequently there’s and abundance of cut yellow chrysanthemums and individually paper wrapped red rose buds, an attempt to hold back their arrival.
Keywords:Blossom, Kumquat, Lunar, New, Peach, Tet, Vietnam, Year
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