the importance of flowers

'Cho Hoa', the Flower market

To usher in the new year, one of the most important things to have in the Vietnamese home is a branch of apricot blossoms, 'hoa mai'. It is a symbol of spring and new life. It also wards off evil spirits. When going to select a branch, people look for ones that they think will bloom in time for the first day of Tet and will last through the week of celebrations. If it blooms during this time, then it will be a year of good fortune for the family. My grandmother not only has a branch, but an entire two story tree!

A single apricot blossom.

The blossoms began showing up just in time for Tet! Yay!

What the tree looked like when I left. Absolutely gorgeous!

Flowers are also used to decorate the altars of our ancestors and the deceased. Grandma got very excited when the flowers that she set on one of the altars bloomed not only one tier, but two tiers. You see, when she had selected them, the stems only had one bud each so she only expected one bloom per stem, but during the course of the week, more buds sprouted, so she had two tiers. She thinks its a double dose of good luck.

Flowers on one of the altars. One tier...

Two tiers! Woo-hoo!!!

As you can probably guess, my grandmother is an avid gardener. There are many other plants in her little garden.

Grandma during her early morning ritual of watering the plants.

The view from inside.

A little oasis. It was great to wake up and enjoy this every morning.

To see what role flowers play in people's lives, check out the Human Flower Project.


At 2/11/2006 6:34 AM, Anonymous jenny dang said...

Great blog. I miss you a lot! I miss you even more with Vday rolling around. I'm a flower, well my name is flower. How am I important lol?


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