The Chinese New Year Money Tree

WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh

PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson

These gorgeous Kumquat trees are a favourite at this particular time of the Chinese New Year, bringing wealth and good fortune as a traditional new year money tree.

If you have wandered about Chinatown in your area in January, you would have noticed the abundance of mandarin and kumquat trees. These trees are often given as gifts but come into play around Chinese New Year as a ‘money tree'. Often seen in pairs at an entrance, their presence represents wealth and good fortune, everything you would desire at the beginning of a new year. The orange and gold colours of these trees resemble money and gold; it is also said that the orange represents the sun's positive energy. I love the idea that a colour can represent so many things to different cultures and be enjoyed and celebrated by so many at a particular time of year.

In keeping with tradition, the trees often have red envelopes attached to them that turns them into the great money tree! These envelopes are often given out as gifts at weddings and holidays, filled with money and specifically the amount needs to be an even number - as an odd number can mean funeral/death or bad luck and no one wants that! Envelopes are traditionally given from a senior to a junior, the married to the unmarried and holds brand new, crisp notes with the amount depending on the relationship. This money should then be saved and not spent. The auspicious red envelope is also hung to ward off evil spirits as well as being a decorative item. 

Setting up my version of the money tree was a little less traditional! I filled my envelopes with chocolate coins and hung them on the branches. Keeping the tree near the door, I am hoping that it will bring me a year of good luck. You should try it!