Tangerine Orange -- Don't leave home without them during Chinese New Year!

When I was a kid, my family would bring along tangerine oranges whenever we visited a relative or friend during Chinese New Year.

Each of us kids would hold two oranges (double is lucky), offer them to an elder and say Happy New Year “xing1 nian2 kuai4 le4!” 新年快乐!

Why is the tangerine orange offered during Chinese New Year?

Because tangerine ju2 橘 sounds like ji2 吉“auspicious” or “lucky”.

Two tangerines mean “double lucky”.

Moreover, also choose large tangerines because da4 ju2大橘 sounds like da4 ji2 大吉, “lots of auspiciousness”.

A tangerine plant which looks like a lot of gold coins hanging on a tree is called golden tangerine jin1 ju2 金橘 (think money tree).

It brings wealth and peace and therefore is a favorite plant to keep around the household and give as a gift to friends during Chinese New Year.

A popular phrase to offer during Chinese New Year (especially to businesspeople) is da4 ji2 da4 li4 大吉大利 , which expresses the wish for “an abundance of fortune and profits”

When you see an image of a persimmon with tangerine, it means “lots of luck in everything you do” shi4 shi4 (everything you do) da4 ji2 事事大吉 (lots of luck).

In Chinese, persimmon shi4 sounds the same as everything shi4, and the tangerine stands for luck.


Return to Chinese New Year activities