Traditions evolve in Qingming floral customs

As Qingming Festival takes place this Thursday, flower markets are abuzz with activity and adorned with chrysanthemums, a flower symbolic of the age-old tradition of honoring departed loved ones. Amid these time-honored rituals, a modern narrative emerges, revealing personalized expressions of remembrance through floral arrangements.

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Huang Ping, a seasoned flower vendor with over two decades of experience, typically specializes in roses, carnations, lilies, and other celebratory blooms. However, during Qingming, her stall is transformed into a sea of chrysanthemums, marking her busiest week of the year.

Huang Ping arranges flowers at her stall. /CGTN

Huang Ping arranges flowers at her stall. /CGTN

“These past few days, I’ve hardly slept. I started at 3 or 4 a.m. and worked until 8 or 9 p.m.,” said Huang.

Diverse arrays of flower baskets and bouquets adorn her stall, catering to a spectrum of tastes and preferences.

Huang Ping’s flower stall /CGTN

Huang Ping’s flower stall /CGTN

A customer remarked, “This year’s decorations are exquisite and innovative, featuring a greater variety of flowers compared to traditional offerings.”

Older customers tend to favor traditional offerings, characterized by yellow and white chrysanthemums, evoking nostalgia for ancestral traditions.

A chrysanthemum bouquet for sale /CGTN

A chrysanthemum bouquet for sale /CGTN

Conversely, younger individuals lean towards more personalized choices, reflecting their individual preferences. “Today, I mainly came to pay respects to my grandparents. I chose a flower basket with chrysanthemums and lilies, tailored to my taste,” said another customer.

Flower baskets for sale /CGTN

Flower baskets for sale /CGTN

Visiting smaller flower shops reveals young customers displaying more individualized inclinations when selecting floral arrangements for cemetery offerings. “I want to pay respects to my late friend. I find this flower basket very beautiful and fitting. The addition of green pom-poms adds a personal touch and fresh style that resonates with me,” said a customer.

Flower baskets for sale /CGTN

Flower baskets for sale /CGTN

Jin Yuanyuan, a floral designer at Wu Ming Flower Art, explained that there have been significant changes in people’s aesthetic preferences of flowers. “This year, many customers hope to include daisies, roses, red beans, baby’s breath, and other flowers in their offerings.”

Qingming Festival, blending tradition with modernity, enriches age-old customs with personal significance and contemporary expressions of remembrance.