With Chinese New Year just around the corner, one of the hottest items being circulated from companies (such as banks) to the Chinese community, would be the red packets or what we called the Ang Pao, in Chinese language. Every year this time, it is when companies show off their creativity with their own custom red packet designs.
However, this year, we found that a prestige bank operating locally has come out with a Chrysanthemum red packet design. This has drawn our attention to investigate whether it is inauspicious to use Chrysanthemum to symbolise such a joyous festive occasion.
Here’s what may cause a controversy
While red packet would act as a monetary gift during Chinese New Year, it is believed that the red packet will bring luck to the person who receives it and also to the person who gives it.
But wait, Chrysanthemums on a red packet? This doesn’t sound quite right.
Chrysanthemums are typically perceived as symbol of death in some countries of Europe and are used only for funerals or on graves. In Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea, white chrysanthemums are symbolic of lamentation and grief. Just like in China, Chinese community in Malaysia uses chrysanthemums as offerings for prayer during wake or funeral.
The design of Chrysanthemum on a red packet may be deemed as insensitive or inappropriate especially to be given out during a festivity like Chinese New Year. This clash of concept may cause a controversy in the community.
The real meaning of Chrysanthemum
Although Chrysanthemum is a choice of flower used during sad events, how many of us actually know what Chrysanthemum really means? Our team at TallyPress.com decided to conduct a research to find out the real meaning of Chrysanthemum. What we found was rather surprising in the positive ways.
The Chrysanthemum signifies intellectual accomplishments, cleansing qualities, and longevity of life. Buddhists use this flower as offerings on altars because they symbolises powerful Yang energy. This flower attracts good luck in the home. It is good to give old people chrysanthemum flowers because they symbolize strong life.
In another piece of article found on luckypath-fengshui.com:
The chrysanthemum is associated with the 9th month of the Chinese calendar—and is highly regarded because it is associated with a long life of ease, constancy, faithfulness, and goodwill. Chrysanthemums are thought to bring laughter and happiness into the home.
Another enlightening fact about Chrysanthemum found on Wikipedia:
The chrysanthemum is one of the “Four Gentlemen” (四君子) of China (the others being the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo). The chrysanthemum is said to have been favored by Tao Qian, an influential Chinese poet, and is symbolic of nobility. It is also one of the four symbolic seasonal flowers.
Chrysanthemum has been judged by its cover and has been misunderstood for what it really represents. Despite often making appearances at the not-so-joyous occasions, Chrysanthemum is a noble flower which actually carries with it the meaning of strong life, long life, good luck and more. This is also the reason why it is chosed to be used during unfortunate events; because of the great meaning it brings.
So, is it an insensitive move or a bold yet meaningful move to print Chrysanthemum on a red packet? We leave it to you to judge.