As florists, we appreciate the value and power of colour. I know certain colours make me feel bright and cheery, or dark and moody: I may feel in a earthy mood and choose blooms accordingly. Many colours have special meanings for us all, or are deeply seated in tradition, and in that way, no one is more governed by meanings of colour than the Chinese.
Chinese New Year is determined by the Chinese Lunar Calendar so starts on a different day each year (and never on January 1st). In 2015, the year of the Green Wood Sheep – starts on February 19, 2015. And after all our Christmas and New Year celebrations are done and dusted, well, it really is another great excuse for a good old celebration, along with a fresh new start, isn’t it?
In Chinese New Year it is traditional to wear specific colours in the hope to attract good luck in the new year, a tradition that is popular all over the world. 2015 is the year of the wood (tree) sheep element so it is recommended to wear colours symbolic of the wood feng shui element (tree)- any/all shades of green and brown. In addition to clothing, accessories and jewellry may also be worn. By choosing jewellry with natural crystals like jade, agate, green tourmaline and malachite, you will have an even more powerful effect. You may also wear colours of water (blue/black) and earth (earthy tones) as both elements support wood in its growth and well being. You must not however wear colours of fire (whites/greys) and metal (purple/orange and red) as these are the least favourable colours, least in line and in harmony with the governing element. Alternatively you may choose to decorate your home in auspicious colour tones to bring luck and light into your life and your home, and this is where we can help!
Is this true, though? Does it really work? And, most importantly, what is it based on? The recommendations above are based on the specific element/animal this year. However, there are colours that the Chinese consider to be particularly auspicious at any time.
Yellow, corresponding with earth, considered the most beautiful and prestigious color. The Chinese saying, Yellow generates Yin and Yang, implies that yellow is the center of everything.The colour yellow is used to symbolise royalty and power of the throne. Yellow was the emperor’s colour in Imperial China as the first Emperor of China was known as the “Yellow Emperor”. Yellow often decorates royal palaces, altars and temples, and the color was used in the robes and attire of the emperors. It is also thought that the Chinese have yellow skin.
Yellow also represents freedom from worldly cares and is thus esteemed in Buddhism. Monks’ garments are yellow, as are elements of Buddhist temples. Yellow is also symbolic of heroism, as opposed to the Western association of the colour with cowardice and fear.
Some yellow flowers you may wish to decorate your house with this February: Sunflowers (as above), gerberas, roses, asiatic lilies, Concodora oriental lilies, gladioli, billy buttons, alstromeria, daisies, frangipani, and tulips. Daffodils, johnquils, Clivia and ranunculas are also available in yellow, however are available at a different time of year.
Red is the Chinese national colour, and also represents success, good fortune, happiness and beauty. Red is the most popularly used colour in everyday life as well as during New Year, other holidays and special family gatherings. Traditionally a red envelope is given during holidays or special occasions like weddings and is said to bring good fortune. It is however strictly prohibited to use red for funereal purposes.
Flowers available throughout February in red tones include: roses, dahlias, gerberas, heliconias (as pictured), chrchrysanthemumslowering gum (eucalyptus), tulips, anthuriums, asiatic lilies, carnations, gladioli and celosia.
Hippiastrum and ranunuclas also grow in gorgeous red hues however are available at another time of year.
Green: The colour green symbolises money: often buildings, banks and restaurants are painted green (and red) to bring success and propserity. Generally green is associated with health, prosperity, and harmony.
Naturally green flowers you could use to adorn your house: chryssies (as above), Disbud Chrysanthemums, Dendrobium orchids, Jade roses, trix carnations, Carnations, Mollaca Balm, Succulents, hydrangea and gladioli. Cymbidium orchids, Gildarose (snowball) and heleborus are among some of the naturally green flowers that are available at other times during the year.
The colour to steer clear of throughout Chinese New Year celebrations is white. Although white symbolises purity, brightness and fulfillment, white is most traditionally used as the colour of mourning. It is a colour which is associated with death and thus is often avoided completely for other celebrations.
Florists will be brimming with fresh flowers throughout February with both Valentines Day and Chinese New Year taking place in close succession. Be sure to pre-order any specific flowers you are hoping to use throughout your home or that you require for special gifts.
See you on the other side,