The Lunar New Year holiday is approaching, and shoppers across Taiwan are stocking up on food and supplies to get ready.
New Year’s shopping lists vary from household to household, but flowers are one item common to many of them. In the Taipei area at least, shoppers looking for flowers this time of the year are in luck.
Festive flowers are a hit in Taiwan any time of year, but around the Lunar New Year holiday, flower sales see a big uptick. That’s because certain flowers are thought to symbolize a year of luck.
To deal with this big seasonal demand, Taipei’s Jianguo Holiday Flower Market is staying open for 108 hours straight. From midnight on January 20 to noon on January 24—Lunar New Year’s Eve—there will be flowers around the clock.
It’s important to know what kind of flowers to buy, since different kinds of flowers symbolize different kinds of luck. For instance, the Zanzibar Gem, known as the “money tree” in Chinese, represents wealth. Meanwhile, the sound of the Hokkien word for “pineapple” means that people associate pineapple flowers with prosperity.
Bamboo may be a good choice, too, as it’s thought to bring luck, and it stays alive year-round.
A flower-seller at the market also recommends butterfly orchids, which people imagine carrying luck into the home on its wing-like petals. Or he suggests a type of daisy called the “fireworks daisy”, thought to symbolize the start of a dazzling New Year.
But he says the number one seller is always going to be the lily, because its name in Chinese calls to mind a phrase meaning that all things will go your way.