As the beginning of the year, Spring represents life in Chinese culture, flowers blooming, trees budding - all life are awakening in this season. The flower representing this season is orchid, refined and elegant. It has long been a symbol of nobility and scholarship.
In old times, not long before air-conditioning was born, summer, in my memory, is the hand-fan, sweet watermelon, Cicada in the tree and the clear sky at night. Lotus are blooming in the pound, showing off their beauty under the burning sun. That’s why Lotus is the symbol of summer in China. The lotus (蓮花, lián huā, 荷花, hé huā) is known as the gentleman’s flower because it grows out from the mud, pure and unstained.
In the Chinese tradition, the autumn season is associated with the color white, the sound of weeping, the emotions of both courage and sadness, the lung organ, the metal element, and a white tiger. Autumn is also connected in Chinese thought with the direction west, considered to be the direction of dreams and visions. The flower representing this season is Chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums are given as gifts to the elderly to promote long, healthy lives. These flowers also bring good luck (幸運/幸运 [xìng yùn]).
When the harsh winter chill has stripped most trees bare, the plum blossom blooms. It symbolizes resilience, strength, and hope. The first character, 梅 (méi), contains the radical 母 “mother.” Like all good mothers, it pushes on through cold weather and hard times. While deeply rooted in the earth, it conveys an unearthly, persevering beauty.