Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Noble Bloom

Peony (牡丹) has been hailed as the symbol of riches and nobility in Chinese literature for centuries. They are often the subject or a source of inspiration for poets, painters, even playwrights.

In the Asiatic climate, peonies bloom around the same time as Lunar New Year, hence their popular use as festive ornaments in Chinese households to signify hopes of riches for the coming year. These flowers hold equal status as peach blossoms which usage is not unlike having a cut pine tree for Christmas in Occidental cultures.

I do not recall being fond of peonies until I lived on the ancestral plot of my Italian friend, Claudia, in Molazzana. Instead of being cultivated in pots for ornamental purposes, the translucent pink buds were at one with nature.

It was a particularly cold May up on those Tuscan hills and I visited the peonies each day to witness their struggle to bloom. I was there to cheer them on. Eventually a few of them made it to give us delicate and barely pink petals. I have been in love with peonies since those moments.

Recently, I was charmed by pictures and the lovely water-colours of peonies at Paris Breakfasts. Then, I discovered flower stalls in some barrios are selling them right now. I spied pink and white blossoms tucked discreetly in a corner at a couple of stalls on Santa Fe (close to Callao). I've also seen them in Belgrano and Recoleta. They don't seem to be as popular as jasmine which is abundant at this time of the year. However, if someone would just take them home and release them from their cellophane wrapping, these babies would definitely stun you with their beauty.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home