Spring blossoms in the south greet Chinese New Year
By Zhang Meng

2017-01-26 17:12 GMT+8

There are a million ways to welcome the Spring Festival. But the spirit of spring truly holds its essence in China's south where the weather is moderately warmer than the north, leading to flower blossoms. 
CFP Photo
And in Guangzhou, the Chinese New Year is welcomed by spring blossoms. With an average temperature around 13°C and 21°C, Guangzhou is known as the "City of Flowers" and  for its traditional flower markets. It also holds the reputation of the nation’s biggest fresh flower markets. And this year, the city's annual event opened its door to public on Wednesday offering hundreds of species of flowers. 
The flower fair is known as a venue for family and friends to get together and munch on Chinese snacks as they stroll along the flower market for a fresh beginning to a new year. 
CFP Photo
In Cantonese culture, it is believed that flower blossoms bring fortune, especially the ones with auspicious names. For instance, the younger generation believe that peach blossom will bring good luck and love.
Chinese people's fascination with flowers is not a new fad but has a long history dating back to the Han, Ming and Qing dynasties.
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In Guangzhou, the flower industry first thrived in the city's Fangcun region, which later developed into a flower bazaar, which opened at midnight and closed at dawn. At the end of the 20th century the government invested in the construction of Lingnan Flower Market in order to prevent flower vendors from blocking the roads, according to reports.
With an improved marketing concept from the government, Guangzhou’s annual flower market was expanded from three days to 18 days in 2013 and then started promoting the event internationally from 2015.
On the first day of the Chinese New Year in 2016, a New Year’s greeting video from Guangzhou locals was screened for the first time on big screens in New York's Times Square, London's Piccadilly Circus and Tokyo's Ginza, which specifically included footage of the flower market.
“The flower market conveys a message of blessings from local people,” said Xie Haitao, head of Guangzhou's publicity department. “It’s a shared memory of locals and tourists alike of the city.”
A high-tech lantern concert will be seen in 2017. /CFP Photo
This year, apart from the traditional flower display, a high-tech lantern concert will also be a part of the event, which is said to be the most representative of Lingnan culture. Apart from Guangzhou, other flower markets are also held in cities such as Shenzhen, Dongguan and Foshan.  
Local citizens in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province also purchased flowers. /Zhejiang Online Photo
But Guangzhou specifically is on the spotlight. Some violet azaleas blooming along overpasses and bridges in Guangzhou earlier this year went viral online, attracting many tourists. The government is now working on the “one flower each month” strategy to create new highlights in the city of flower.
CFP Photo
The annual flower market this year is expected to attract more tourists who are looking forward for warm temperatures and of course, flowers.