by Xinhua writer Zhao Jiale
CHONGQING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- With the advent of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a bevy of people swarmed into the Wanghai Flower Market in Jiangbei District, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, for new year flowers, which are considered an auspicious omen. When the foot traffic hits the peak, cars queue for more than 10 minutes to enter the market.
As the largest flower market in the main urban area of Chongqing, the market holds a number of shops or stalls of flowers, bonsai, and small pets. The street is dotted with a diversity of colorful flowers, making the market a center garden of the city.
"After the optimization of COVID-19 response, the market has been witnessing a large influx of consumers keen to buy flowers, and the Spring festival fuels the trend," one of the shop owners said, adding that they have replenished the stock to meet the overwhelming demands.
Chinese are used to calling flowers that are sold around the Spring Festival the New Year flowers, which often have auspicious colors, such as purple and red, and feature gorgeous appearances.
Citizen Jia Simin is visiting the market hand in hand with her mother, both holding a pot of purple phalaenopsis. Symbolizing good luck and fortune, phalaenopsis, or butterfly orchid, owing to its butterfly-like appearance, is one of the most popular flowers among the public.
"We bought these flowers to decorate our rooms to make them look more festive and usher in a good mood in the new year," Jia said.
The fluorescence of the butterfly orchids may last two or three months, making the jubilant atmosphere lingering in the room even after the New Year, Jia added.
In the Guoliang Flower Shop, all sorts of flowers deck the hall as many florists work up their sweat to trim and beautify flowers for customers. The number of customers coming to the market has exceeded their expectations.
"With the assistance of florists, the flowers will be more consistent with the personal aesthetic standards of customers," said Feng Xiaoxue, owner of the shop. "My parents have managed this shop for more than 20 years. At the very beginning, the affection of Chongqing citizens for the New Year flowers is not very strong, but in recent years, there has been a surge in people's pursuit of quality life and the need for flowers as well."
The prices of new year flowers range from a few bucks to more than 1,000 yuan (about 150 U.S. dollars) according to their types, hence virtually every consumer can find flowers that are suitable for themselves.
"At present, not only do many buy flowers for decoration, but also as gifts with best wishes. Many companies will have great orders for flowers as presents for their employees, bringing tens of thousands of yuan to the flower shop owners," Feng said.
As of 2020, more than 1.5 million hectares of flowers were planted, and the annual sales exceeded 250 billion yuan, making China the world's largest flower production base and import and export trading country. "The holly depended on import before, but in recent years it has been cultivated in many regions in China as the price is also lowered," Feng said.
According to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China's annual sales of flowers are expected to hit 300 billion yuan by 2025.