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On Chinese New Year's Eve all around Guangzhou, there is a rush of crowds shopping for plants and flowers, before a fun evening with family and friends.
During the Spring Festival, China's "Flower City" is decorated with flowers and tangerine or kumquat trees.
It is an old custom. The origin of the flower fairs can be traced back to the ancient night flower fair. Buying flowers is so important among the Cantonese people in Guangdong and Hong Kong that there is an old saying: "No flower fairs, no Spring Festival."
Guangzhou is called "flower city" because of the government's emphasis on filling the city with gardens, trees, and greenery.
The flower fairs/markets usually start at least three days before the Spring Festival.
The flower giving traditions are similar in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau. Some flowers and plants hold a special significance when given as gifts for Chinese New Year.
The the various kinds of flowers and plants given as gifts connote different wishes or signs.
Fresh flowers and plants are particularly desired, and people also wish to buy candy, gifts, and special Chinese New Year foods. So the custom is for people to shop on New Year's eve perhaps after a family dinner.
Most shops close on Chinese New Year's Day and for a few days after or for the entire Chinese New Year legal holiday week.
Kumquat plants are a favorite since they denote a financially prosperous year. They are often set outside of stores and businesses.
Kumquats are small citrus fruits like small tangerines. Kumquats are particularly popular because in Cantonese "kum" means gold. So you are wishing the recipient a financially prosperous year.
Crowds build three days ahead of Chinese New Year Day, and they climax on New Year's Eve.
During the fair, the streets of the city are decorated with fragrant and beautiful fresh flowers and miniature landscapes.
But the Chinese New Year public holidays are January 25 – January 31, 2020, and the traditional Chinese New Year festival period extends to March 2, the day of the Lantern Festival — so people still go to buy gifts and decorations in the markets and shops during this time.
There will be various folk performances, and local artists also demonstrate and sell their paintings and works of calligraphy in the fairs.
Among the traditions celebrated during the Spring Festival in Guangzhou, lion dances are performed to bring good fortune and to ward off evil spirits.
The person performing the lion's head initiates the movements, and then the other performers behind him will follow so that the movements are synchronized, smooth, and look catlike.
The lion's movements are accompanied by firecrackers and loud music. On the first working day after the Spring Festival public holidays, many companies invite teams to perform lion dances on their grounds, hoping that it will bring good fortune and prosperity to the company.
There are about four major flower fairs in Guangzhou:
We can help you. We can tailor-make a unique Chinese New Year tour. Our recommended tour plans below are all customizable: