Chinese Flower — Auspicious Flowers of Months of Traditional Chinese Calendar and Their Cultural Meanings
Each month is represented by a Chinese flower with auspicious, cultural meanings.
These 12 flowers have been frequently praised and included in poems, paintings, and artifacts, and each of them has a flower goddess to represent its beauty and virtues.
January in Chinese Calendar — Plum Blossom
Flower of Strong, Noble, and Modest
Plum Blossom, the Flower of January, is also the flower of Five Blessings (in Chinese is Wufu), whose five petals represent happiness, wealth, longevity, peace, and success.
They blossom in harsh winter, therefore, the plum blossom has been representative of strength and courage.
Documented more than 3200 years ago, the plum was firstly used as flavorings, food, and sacrificial offerings.
Centuries later, people started to use plum blossoms in cosmetics and medications, when more types and numbers of the flower were cultivated.
During Tang (618 — 907) and Song (960 — 1279) dynasties, more scholars and artists became big fans of the flower for its beautiful appearance, fragrance, and virtues, and developed a whole ornamental theory which includes appreciating place, time, shape, and activities, etc.
Since then, the plum blossom has been frequently praised in poems and artworks, and a popular decorative pattern in people's daily lives.
Poem about Plum Blossom by Wang Anshi (1021 — 1086):
February in Chinese Calendar — Apricot Blossom
Flower of Lucky and Fortunate
The blooming of the apricot flower means spring is coming.
Apricot blossom, the Flower of February, has the same pronunciation as "lucky" in Chinese. Hence, it is representative of good luck and blessed life.
Besides, it is also the symbol of pure, shy, and pretty girls, because of its artistic colors and beautiful appearance.
Documented over 3000 years ago, the apricot flower has been used as food, sacrificial offering, medication, cosmetics, and decorative patterns in China.
Poem about Apricot blossom by Yang Wanli (1127 — 1206):
March in Chinese Calendar — Peach Blossom
Flower of Longevity and Love
Peach Blossom, the Flower of March, is famous for being the symbol of love.
As the plant of powerful immortals, peach has been representative of longevity in Chinese culture.
Peach flowers are quite productive and beautiful; therefore, in documentations of the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC — 256 BC), they are representatives of sweet love and blessed couples.
Peach Blossom in Shijing, Compiled by Confucius (551 BC — 479 BC):
April in Chinese Calendar — Peony
Flower of Brightness, Glory, and Wealth
Peony, the Flower of April, is renowned as the King of Flowers in Chinese culture, as the symbol of wealth, prosperity, and honor.
Firstly used as valuable medication over 2000 years ago, peony got cultivated in scale by people in Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 — 589), introduced to royals in Sui Dynasty (581 — 618), and became highly valued in Tang Dynasty (618 — 907).
In the prosperous Tang Empire, peony flowers were cultivated everywhere, from the royal palaces to civilians' gardens.
Peony art, including poems, paintings, artworks, cosmetics, peony pattern jewelry, and decorations, all flourished during this period.
Since then, the peony has become one of the most popular flowers in China.
Poem of Peony by Liu Yuxi (772 — 842): 唯有牡丹真国色，花开时节动京城。
May in Chinese Calendar — Pomegranate Flower
Flower of Happy Marriage, Maturity, and Wealthy
It looks like a beautiful red skirt, hence, a famous type of women's gorgeous dress was named after the Pomegranate flower (in Chinese is Shiliu Qun).
After it popularized from royal to civilians, Pomegranate became the symbol of beautiful and mature women.
Meanwhile, because of its prolificacy, Pomegranate had been widely used in Traditional Chinese Wedding, as the representative of productivity, flourishing, and wealth.
Poem about Pomegranate by Han Yu (768 — 824):
June in Chinese Calendar — Lotus
Flower of Elegant, Harmony, and Pure
Lotus, the Flower of June, comes from silt but stays pure and beautiful, and has a similar pronunciation as "Harmony".
Therefore, lotus has been representative of grace, pure, elegant, noble, peace, and harmony.
Documented and cultivated no later than the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC — 256 BC), lotus has been widely used in medication, food, artworks, cosmetics, and praised by countless scholars.
Poem about Lotus by Li Bai (701 — 762): 竹色溪下绿，荷花镜里香。
July in Chinese Calendar — Balsamine
The Incarnation of Phenix and the Flower of Energy
Balsamine, the Flower of July, is believed as the incarnation of Phenix, one of the most beautiful and powerful mythical animals in Chinese Mythology.
Besides, it has been widely used in medication and cosmetology, especially for painting fingernails.
Therefore, the Balsamine flower is representative of attractiveness, beauty, and energy.
Poem about Balsamine by Wu Renbi of late Tang Dynasty (618 — 907):
August in Chinese Calendar — Osmanthus Blossom
Flower of Moon, Noble, Honor, and Champion
Osmanthus, the Flower of August, is the representative of the moon and championship.
In history, the Imperial Examination, which was held to elect officials, was always held in August when Osmanthus blossoms. People who won first place in the examination were referred to as "Snapped an Osmanthus' Twig".
In the Chinese language, the pronunciation of Osmanthus is the same as "Richness".
Therefore, the sweet-scented Osmanthus is the symbol of success, honor, blessing, and wealth.
Meanwhile, the Mid Autumn Festival, one of the most important Chinese holidays to celebrate harvest and reunion with family, is on the 15th of August. On this holiday, worshiping the moon, drinking Osmanthus wine, eating mooncakes and Osmanthus cakes are popular activities.
Poem about Osmanthus by Zhu Xi (1130 — 1200):
September in Chinese Calendar — Chrysanthemum
Flower of Longevity, Auspiciousness, and Decency
Chrysanthemum, the Flower of September, bloom around the Double Ninth Festival (9th of September in Chinese Calendar), a holiday to climb mountains and respect the elders.
Additionally, nine is the strongest number in ancient Chinese culture that represents eternity. Click to read more about the Cultural Importance of Nine
Therefore, Chrysanthemum is representative of longevity.
Later, Tao Yuanming (about 365 — 427), a renowned scholar had frequently eulogized Chrysanthemum in his poems as a sign of integrity and fortitude.
Since then, these virtues have been highly appreciated and praised by more poets.
Poem about Chrysanthemum by Tao Yuanming: 秋菊有佳色，裛露掇其英。
October in Chinese Calendar — Hibiscus
Flower of Virtue and Gorgeousness
Hibiscus, the Flower of October, has bright colors, beautiful appearances, and a pronunciation that is similar to the "Husband" in Chinese.
Therefore, it is representative of people with outstanding morals, gorgeous women, and one's deep longings for the beloved one.
Poem about Hibiscus by Wang Wei (701 — 761):
November in Chinese Calendar — Narcissus
Flower of Purity and Blessing
Narcissus, the Flower of November, was introduced to China about 1000 years ago and was cultivated and served as medication, cosmetics, and decorative potted landscapes.
Narcissus was named as a fairy in the water, which has many versions of legends in regard to its incarnation.
Gorgeous flowers from the clean water and the fairy-related stories, together, made Narcissus the representative of purity and auspiciousness in Chinese culture.
Poem about Narcissus by Yang Wanli (1127 — 1206):
December in Chinese Calendar — Winter Sweet
Flower of Fearless, Persistent and Unbending
Winter Sweet, the Flower of December, blooms in harsh winter, and is not afraid of cold, snow, and drought,
Hence, it is admired as the representative of strong, fearless, and unbending.
Poem about Winter Sweet by Fan Chengda (1126 — 1193):
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