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Celebrating the New Year Tangerine Style – Symbols of Luck and Prosperity

Our abundantly giving tangerine tree

Some of the gifts our new home has provided is a yard with abundant fruit trees. We have about 6 or 7 different ones and are in process of growing veggies, herbs and other fruits, along with wild flowers, including sunflowers (my fav!) We have been able to enjoy our lemon and orange tree so far, yielding a good 20 lemons recently and about 30+ oranges, but it is our magnificent tangerine tree that is in blossoming, nonstop abundance! We have already harvested from it about 4 times and each time receiving like 75 + tangerines. It is the little tangerine tree that keeps on a-givin!

We are enjoying our lovely little tangerines au naturel, in smoothies, juices and we make our own tangerine sparkling water. A refreshing way to get some good nutrients along with symbolic energies! Tangerines have similar health benefits to oranges.  Tangerines and oranges provide an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids.   They also offer a very good source of fiber, and a good source of B vitamins (including vitamins B1, B2, and B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid), carotenes, pectin, potassium, and folic acid.

As for the symbolism here is some great info from others on this potent little guy, our friend the tangerine!

In Rhonda Parkinson’s article, Top 10 Symbolic Chinese Foods, she discusses the important role food plays in Chinese culture and how many foods have symbolic meaning. “The symbolic significance of a food,” she says, “may be based on its appearance or on how the Chinese word for it sounds.” Tangerines, along with oranges and pomelos come in at #7 on the list:

7. Fruit – Tangerines, Oranges and Pomelos

“Tangerines and oranges are passed out freely during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively. As for pomelos, this large ancestor of the grapefruit signifies abundance, as the Chinese word for pomelo sounds like the word for “to have.”

One of our tangerine harvests, minus about 10 I've already used

And here’s some info from about tangerines:

“With tangerine trees and marmalade skies. A citrus with an exceptionally good karma. Tangerines are a symbol of happiness and prosperity in China, where they are given at weddings and at the Lunar New Year, preferably with a couple of leaves still attached.

Tangerines are about the size of an orange but slightly “necked” at the base and much easier to peel. There is sometimes a bit of confusion between tangerine and mandarin, they are basically the same thing but people in the trade refer to the types with the dark red-orange skin as tangerines.

Extremely juicy and sweet. Expect to find seeds but don’t let that deter you, all the best fruits with a marked personality have them.

Tangerine trees were grown extensively in China and Japan before being introduced to Europe. They did not get to America until the mid 19th century, thanks to the Italian consul in New Orleans at the time who planted a tree in the consulate garden which eventually made its way to Florida and California.”

But I especially love this cool info from on Tangerines and Oranges: Chinese New Year Symbols: 

“The Chinese culture is rich and full with symbolism and is especially true when it comes to Chinese New Year celebration. It is associated with many symbols and customs.

Despite the fact that some Chinese, especially the youngsters, have adapted to a more ‘western’ style of living, the old traditions and customs are still being practiced, albeit adapted to present day’s environment…

Tangerines and oranges are one of these auspicious Chinese New Year symbols.

Tangerines in Chinese sounds similar to the word “luck” and orange sounds like the Chinese word for “wealth”. Through the play of words, the Chinese is associating the gift of orange and tangerine as having an abundance of happiness and prosperity.

The bright orange color of the fruits also symbolizes ‘gold’, hence it has an auspicious meaning to bring in good luck and wealth.

This is a very important factor for the Chinese new year celebration.

Hence you will find tangerines and oranges, being displayed in houses, offices and shops as they believe it will usher in good fortune for the occupants.

Besides displaying tangerine and orange fruits, displaying the potted plant is another common way to usher in the prosperity. They are normally placed at a doorway or within the common area such as the main reception lobby of shops or offices, or within the living room…The Chinese will normally buy the tree in pairs, as they believe it will double their wealth and prosperity.”


Well, then…since tangerines are an abundant symbol of luck and prosperity, let the good times roll! 



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