Enjoying Chrysanthemum Flowers  

Chrysanthemum originated in China and was recorded in some Chinese books as early as the 5th century B.C. The flower was introduced, as imperial flower, into Japan in the Tang Dynasty. Then it was introduced into Britain in the 12th century, into the continent of Europe in the 17th century, and into the USA in the 19th century. Also known as “yellow flower”, chrysanthemum is of varied species in the composite family. Though its florescence lasts long, this perennial herb usually begins to bloom in the 9th lunar month, lending much festive flavor to the Double Ninth Day. That’s why the month is also referred to as “the month of chrysanthemum”.

The flower was favored by poets through the ages, because it is one of the seldom flowers that bloom in late autumn. It is said that Tao Yuanming, a famous poet of the Jin Dynasty, grew many species of chrysanthemum while he lived as hermit and the flower, when in full bloom, drew many of Tao’s relatives and friends. Huang Chao, leader of the peasant uprising in the Tang Dynasty, wrote a lot of poems about chrysanthemum, which were compiled into an anthology of Chrysanthemum and, even now, are oft-quoted. Du Fu, a great Tang Dynasty poet, wrote more than ten poems singing the praises of the flower.

(Source: baike.baidu.com)

Chinese folks were fond of enjoying chrysanthemum on the Double Ninth Day long before. Chrysanthemum blossom in the ninth lunar month have a beautiful name of “flower of longevity”. The custom of wearing chrysanthemum appeared in the Tang Dynasty already and was always very popular throughout the time afterwards. The entrances of some taverns in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) were decorated with the flowers on the day, which was supposed to incite customers’ desire for wine. Chrysanthemum displays were usually held immediately after the day in some regions of China in the Qing Dynasty. People in Beijing began to stick the chrysanthemums on doors and windows to “get rid of the bad luck and bring in the good ones” which is an alteration of the custom of wearing Chrysanthemum on head. At these displays people might enjoy chrysanthemum flowers, take part in poem-composing competitions or watch painters drawing paintings of chrysanthemum flowers. The display was often lively with a sea of visitors.

Source: China info online

Edited by Zhang Min

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