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Posts Tagged ‘Vietnamese Tet festival’

Peach blossom, or Hoa Dao is not only a flower but it has become an integral part in the life of Hanoi people, especially when the Lunar New Year is around. As a traditional feature, every family in Vietnam would buy one or some types of flower that appear only in Tet; if in the South of Vietnam, yellow apricot flower is the most common, in the Northern part, people usually purchase Hoa Dao for adornment. The main reason for this difference is the characteristics of the plants. While peach trees grow well in cold weather, orchid flowers just can survive and bloom in tropical lands with lots of sunshine.

Around one week before Tet approaches, everyone seems to hasten be in a rush so that all the work can be finished once a new year comes. As busy as that, however, hardly any family can neglect to clean their houses neatly, to put on some decorations and especially to buy a pretty peach blossom tree. Hanoi people usually have a saying that “Spring arrives when Hoa Dao starts to blossom” and Spring represents for Tet. This flower may be simple but when the tree is in full blossom, its bright color provokes such a bustling and exciting feeling. Normally, there are two kinds of peach blossom tree or this flower comes in two colors: red (Dao Bich) and pink ( Dao phai), in which the former is more popular. There are also two ways to display the flower, putting a whole tree in a pot or just taking a big branch and arranging in a vast.

hoa dao

Peach blossom comes in vividly red color with double petals

This is a time-honored tradition but no one knows exactly since when people considered Hoa Dao a symbol of Tet. It is said that from a long time ago, there were two Gods called Tra and Uat Luy residing in a giant peach blossom tree and had a power to frighten ghosts and devils and prevent the villagers from being disturbed by them. For that reason, people had a strong belief that by bringing the peach blossom home, peculiarly in Tet, they would drive away the devils and bad fortunes. As time passes by, people were no longer convinced by that story, still, they appreciated Hoa Dao and saw it important for their life. These days, Hoa Dao is thought to be a demonstration of novelty, proliferation and development. Hence, it can deliver health, peace and luck for people when a whole new year comes. Tet is also a special time for families and friends to gather after one year of hard-working, wishing each other all the best. Therefore, peach blossom is a token of happiness and cosiness.

cho-hoa

People flock to see the traditional peach blossom market in Hanoi

If you pay a visit to Hanoi in Tet period which varies from year to year, normally around January and February, you can easily catch a sight of Hoa Dao in everywhere: private houses, schools, hospitals or other public areas. Ordinarily, people purchase Hoa Dao two or three weeks ahead of the New Year Eve. In Hanoi, Nhat Tan village is famous for being a cradle of peach blossom with many fine craftsmen. Growing peach tree is such an art that it has been passed from one generation to others.

Vuon dao nhat tan

A view from Nhat Tan Village where you can seek for the most genuine and pretty peach trees in Hanoi

Also, Nhat Tan flower market is well-known for its variety of flowers from different regions throughout the country. Peach trees from mountainous areas such as Lang Son, Mau Son, Moc Chau, etc. are brought to Hanoi and they are preferred by people here. Another major flower market that sells Hoa Dao in Tet is the area around Hang Luoc Street (Combs Street), Hang Ngang, Hang Dao Street in the old quarter. These flower markets are not only a place that people can procure themselves a peach blossom tree but they draw hundreds of visitors every year coming to admire and take photos.

Hai dao

A woman who has just collected the flowers and is about to bring to the market

The image of Hoa Dao is too familiar to people that it even becomes a major subject in poems and songs. In along with Chung Cake or Lucky Money, Hoa Dao is more than a decoration stuff, its vivid beauty and profound meaning is a big part in Vietnamese life whenever Tet comes.

 

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