In Chinese culture, significant symbolism lies with flowers. They hold a language all of their own. From ancient Chinese writings the meaning of flowers has been passed from generation to generation. The mythology of flowers has stood this test of time and continues among the people of China today.

Symbolism and the cycle of life

The life force and life cycle of flowers are seen as holding powerful messages that have a corresponding influence on human life. Often nothing is said in words, because it is through the simple and deliberate giving of a flower that the message is known and conveyed.

Flowers are held with great respect and understanding. Many activities of life provide an opportunity to gift a flower and offer positive energy and love to the recipient.

A seed grows and celebrates new life. It then turns into a beautiful and colourful blossom that lasts a day or a few weeks. Finally it wilts and falls to its death. Some flowers are strong and powerful, while others are fragile, and others still bloom alone. Their blossom may last only for a day or for a few weeks.

The flower shares its stages of life with human life.  Sacred rituals and Buddhist traditions are performed with corresponding flowers based on the symbolism they hold. The Lotus, for example, is used in many ceremonies for its association with ultimate purity and holiness. Other flowers are offered for birth, good fortune, long life and a clear passing in death. The cycle of life is inherent in so many of them.

It has been natural to extend this graceful gift witnessed during the life of a flower to human relevance. While most flowers hold meaning, listed below are some commonly used flowers below with their symbolic belief. 

Flowers and their Chinese meaning

Azalea Elegance and wealth.
Chrysanthemums         Strong Life, ease of life.
Citron Luck and happiness.
Hydrangea Love, gratitude and enlightenment.
Lilac Modesty.
Lotus Flower Ultimate purity and holiness.
Maple trees Elderly people.
Narcissus Hidden talents.
Hidden talents. Fertility. Also perfection, abundance and higher growth.
Peach flowers Beautiful girls.
Peony Nobility and value. A symbol of spring and fertility.
Plum Brings luck.
Pomegranate For newlyweds to help with conception.

Flower gifts for special occasions

With so much emphasis on the myth behind each flower, it is important to understand their significance. Offence can easily occur when the wrong flower is given. Here are seven occasions when flowers are given with a positive intention.

Birthdays Red rose or pomegranate for prosperity
Opening a business Red rose or pomegranate for prosperity
Graduation Red rose or pomegranate for prosperity
Wedding Lily – for 100 years of love and unity
Career advancement Narcissus

Choosing the perfect flowers to send for an occasion can be hard, so ask the advice of your florist for what flowers are most appropriate. They will be able to help you with your choice, and will earn you the gratitude and approval of your recipient.