Orchids have long been considered a symbol of fertility, abundance and luck, making them a treasured gift for the Chinese New Year. The Chinese year 4713 begins on Feb. 19. This is the year of the sheep, a creative year to be born. Legend has it that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year and he named a year after each one, believing that those born under that animal will share those characteristics. Those born in sheep years tend to be charming, sensitive and artistic. Michelangelo, Jane Austen, Rudolph Valentino, Barbara Walters and Bruce Willis were born in the year of the sheep.
Also known as the Spring Festival, orchids are particularly significant during the annual Chinese New Year. Their odd numbered blooms are preferable and meant to convey the dynamic irregularity of life, the yin and the yang of luck and love. Unopened buds represent life’s continuous journey
Orchids are in high demand this time of year, primarily the red, yellow and orange varieties for good fortune, and are considered sacred in China. A towering orchid signifies refinement, luxury and a sweet innocence as recipients of the plant head into the New Year.
Their delicate blossoms are often showcased in elegant vases placed in strategic positions in and around the home or office as part of Feng Shui, a belief that placement of objects, choice of color and plants can bring good fortune and harmony to the room and its occupants.
Other popular plants to give to a friend, loved one or as a gift for yourself for the Chinese New Year include peach blossoms for luck and longevity and romance.
Peonies are a sweet little flower that can mean affection and charm as well as a nod to auspiciousness in the New Year and the silky buds on the long branches of the pussy willow are a sign of growth and prosperity.