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In both Hong Kong and Macau, on Chinese New Year’s Day, the people give fresh flowers, potted plants, and bouquets as gifts. They crowd the flower markets several days before, especially on the eve of Chinese New Year.
A lot of sentimental and emotional significance is attached to this custom, and the various kinds of flowers given as gifts denote different wishes or signs.
The residents of the two cities like and can afford very fresh flowers, so there are huge crowds buying flowers at the major flower markets and flower shops.
Though some people in mainland China, especially Cantonese in Guangdong Province, give gifts of flowers on New Years Day, giving flowers isn’t as important a custom there as in the two regions of HK and Macau. See more on Guangzhou Spring Festival Flower Fair.
It is thought that gifts of fresh flowers and plants give good luck. So it is a part of how Hong Kong and Macau people celebrate their holidays.
In Hong Kong, on Chinese New Year's Eve, February 4, the crowds are especially heavy at the flower markets. About 15 temporary markets are set up each year in parks or other public places. The scramble can get intense. Many vendors keep selling after midnight.
Many Hongkongers have their Chinese New Year’s Eve family reunion dinner, and then they go out and shop to be able to present fresh flowers, toys, and holiday foods to the important people in their lives on Chinese New Year's Day when people want to rest and be home with family and go for Spring Fest celebrations such as the Hong Kong Chinese New Year Firework Performance 2019.
Along with the desire to present very fresh flowers, another reason for the scramble of the crowds on New Years Eve is the tradition that stores close on New Year's Day, February 5, and for a while afterwards.
The weight of tradition dictates that shops and businesses close and that everyone focus on family matters, reunions, important relationships, and religious matters at the temples and house shrines during the first three days of the Chinese New Year.
The Mongkok Flower Market around Flower Market Road in Mongkok, Kowloon is the biggest permanent flower market with about 100 shops.
Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island is the most popular temporary market. In Kowloon, another popular temporary market is at Fa Hui Park just a short walk from Flower Market Road.
During Chinese New Year, any flower market or shop has abundant bouquets, pots and arrangements of Orchids — the variety and colors are limitless.
Orchids are delicate, beautiful and elegant flowers, and in China, they have long been considered to be symbolic of 'many children' or fertility and abundance. Orchids also signify refinement, luxury and innocence. These flowers make for valuable gifts in this season.
Flower shops and stalls sometimes stay open late and even to early morning hours on New Year's Day, but the shops should be closed when the sun rises. So the shop owners might be frantic about selling their stock of flowers and potted plants before dawn.
Read more on Chinese New Year Celebrations in Hong Kong in 2019 — it is one of the top 10 festivals in the world according to Forbes.
In Macau, the people celebrate their holidays even more fervently than the Hong Kong people. The flower markets are popular places to go for the holidays.
Tap Seac Square: The main traditional Chinese New Year flower market is at Tap Seac Square. It opens in the morning on New Year's Eve, but it is best visited in the afternoon and evening, and it stays open late. It is a popular place to visit during the holidays.
It is Macau's biggest public square, and it is highly decorated and special events are put on each year. There are lion and dragon dances and booths for food, beverages and gifts.
Fisherman's Wharf: There is a casino and resort and theme park located next to the Macau Ferry Terminal. It is only a few minutes walk away from the terminal. The flower market there is smaller.
Read more about the Macau Chinese New Year 2019.
The flower giving traditions are much the same in Hong Kong and Macau. Some flowers and plants hold a special significance when given as gifts on Chinese New Year:
In Hong Kong and Macau, kumquat plants are a recommended gift. Kumquats are a small orange citrus fruit. They are like small tangerines.
Kumquats are particularly popular since in Cantonese "kum" means gold. So you are wishing the recipient a financially prosperous year.
Potted shrubs and flowers are ideal for Lucky Chinese New Year Flower and Fruit Gifts during Chinese New Year and are available in all flower markets.
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