Peach blossoms: Enduring symbol of Tet holiday

Peach blossoms are an enduring symbol of Tet (Lunar New Year) festival in the northern region of Vietnam.
Peach blossoms: Enduring symbol of Tet holiday ảnh 1Peach blossoms in Nhat Tan ward, Tay Ho district, Hanoi. (Photo: Nguyen Van Canh/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Traditionally, the Tet holidays are the days of relaxation, family reunion, happiness and joy. Just as many people in the West buy pine trees for the Christmas holiday, Vietnamese often buy many types of flowers and plants to decorate their house in the special period.

The three plants that cannot be missing during the Tet holidays are peach blossoms, apricot (ochna itegerrima) blossoms and kumquat.

Peach blossoms and kumquat trees are common in the north while southern people prefer apricot blossoms for Tet.

Taking care of peach trees was not too hard, but ensuring peach trees’ blossoms bloomed at the right time, right at Tet, was hard because it depended much on climate, according to farmers. Climate conditions were the key factor to determine when the peach trees’ blossoms bloom and whether they are beautiful or ugly.

As the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday approaches people in the capital city flock to Quang An market in Hanoi’s Tay Ho district where a variety of the holiday trees are sold.

On the dirt road leading toward the Red River from Au Co Road, a tall line of peach trees has started to bloom ahead of the Lunar New Year. Only a 10-minute drive from downtown Ha Noi, the scenery shows another world of chrysanthemums and daisies, lilies and marguerites. But the most majestic sight is the vivid hue of peach blossoms before Tet (Lunar New Year).

Peach blossoms are also being sold in the Old Quarter during the Hang Luoc Tet Flower Market, a traditional event held only once a year a week before the Lunar New Year Eve.

A Hanoian’s peach blossom is like a Christian’s Christmas tree — people even used to decorate their peach tree with ornaments. This trend, however, gave way to more traditional ornament displays. A good specimen tree has many small branches, healthy flower buds and thick petals. In the past, when electricity was scarce, the rosy flowers were like little lanterns, providing light and hope for many families. If banh chung (square sticky rice cake) represents the origin of the universe as our ancestors’ thoughts, then the image of hoa dao (peach blossoms) is the soul of Tet.

Peach trees represent luck and prosperity for a new year and brings the spirit of spring to households.

Nhat Tan flower village and neighbouring villages like Nghi Tam, Tu Lien, Phu Thuong that are well known for ornamental plants have become more crowded in the last few years as visitors, particular young people, come to take photos with flowers.

Peach blossoms: Enduring symbol of Tet holiday ảnh 2A farmer in Nhat Tan ward, Tay Ho district, Hanoi takes care of her peach blossom garden. (Photo: Nguyen Van Canh/TTXVN)

Nhat Tan flower village in Nhat Tan Ward, Tay Ho District is famous for peach flowers. Over 50 hectares in the ward is used to grow peach flowers. Nearly 800 households grow peach flowers there. The yearly total of peach trees and branches sold for the Lunar New Year festival, or Tet, reaches into the thousands.

An authentic Nhat Tan peach blossom has special characteristics, including a round canopy with dense buds and densely scattered blooms.

Nowadays, farmers mainly cross-breed forest peach blossom roots with dao bich (red peach) for the best trees.

During two months before the Lunar New Year holiday, peach trees, with their leaves having been already trimmed, only require watering and moss layering on the pot surface.

Peach blossoms: Enduring symbol of Tet holiday ảnh 3A young lady poses for photos besides peach blossoms. (Photo: Tuan Duc/VNA)

Nhat Tan is renowned as Hanoi’s long-standing peach blossom hub. In 2006, local peach growers were granted trademark protection for their peach trees.

In 2008, the National Office of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Sciences and Technology granted a patent for the peach flowers grown in Nhat Tan village.

On December 22, Hanoi's People's Committee granted the village the title “Hanoi Traditional Trade Village 2015" which is expected to promote the image of the flower village./.


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