- Celebrated Date: TBD
- Location: Guangzhou
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."
The Guangzhou Flower Boom
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.
The Meaning of the Plants
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.
- Tangerine trees: goodwill, fruitful marriages, prosperity and good luck.
- Peonies: are for prosperity.
- Peach blossoms: are for romance and longevity.
- Lettuce: are for wealth generation.
- Chrysanthemum: are for long life.
Duration of the Flower Market Festival
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.
The traditional Chinese New Year festival period extends for 15 days to the day of the Lantern Festival - so people still go to buy gifts and decorations in the markets and shops during this time.
Special Fair Activities
There will be various folk performances, and local artists also demonstrate and sell their paintings and works of calligraphy in the fairs.
The Lion Dance Performances
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.
Market Locations in Guangzhou and Transport
There are about four major flower fairs in Guangzhou:
- Xihu Flower Fair: Along with getting flowers, the streets and side alleys have a variety shops for for gifts. Metro Line 1 and 2: Gongyuan Qian Station. Xihu Road, Yuexiu District 越秀区西湖路
- Tianhe Flower Fair: Metro Line 1: Tianhe Sports Center Station. Tianhe Road, Tianhe District 天河区天河路天河体育中心.
- Liwan Flower Fair: Along with flowers, people buy calligraphy, decorations, and more expensive products such as tea and paintings. Metro Line 1: Chenjiaci Station. Liwan Road, Liwan District 荔湾区荔湾路.
- Binjiang West Road Market: Along with flowers and plants, people sell festival decorations, fruit baskets, and special Chinese New Year desserts and treats. You can enjoy sampling the food. The market area is between Renmin Bridge and Jiefang Bridge (人民桥至解放桥路段). Metro Line 6: Wenhua Gongyuan Station, then walk across the bridge. Binjiang Road, 滨江西路.
Thinking of Visiting China for Chinese New Year?
We can help you. We can tailor-make a unique Chinese New Year tour. Our recommended tour plans below are all customizable:
- Four-Day Essence of Guangzhou and Shenzhen Tour
- The Grand Foodies Tour across China starts in Beijing and goes to Guangzhou, via Chengdu.