“The tangerines are supposed to have at least one leaf attached to them … Back story about the tangerines, tangerines are supposed to be picked freshly from a tree and placed in each room of the household during Spring Cleaning. To Chinese culture, it is supposed to ward off negativity and bring in positivity with its citrus scents and the life that it brings to your home because it is a living fruit.”
When did you first hear about this tradition?
“My entire life I have done this. My parents and I would always grab tangerines from my … tangerines from our tangerine tree. When the fruit eventually dried up from not being watered or attached to the tree, that signified that Spring Cleaning was over and it was time to start anew.”
“Chinese Spring Cleaning is a component of Chinese New Year. As opposed to American calendar years, the Chinese use the lunar calendar. So Chinese New Years usually falls at the end of January or the beginning of February. And each year signifies a new animal. For this year is the year of the monkey 2016. And so the festivities in each house hold is to clean and get ride of all of the hold and negativity that you have been harboring for the past year and start fresh. A lot of traditional China Chinese people pray to their ancestors and Buddha in a mental cleaning sense but also seep out all of the dirt of their house and dust and literal dirt out of their living space.”
What do you see as the significance of this tradition?
“For us it is a great way to start a new. As I said, it usually takes place in January or February so it is right before westernized Spring Cleaning so it ties in with that as well.”
The tangerines represent a refreshing start to the year and the cleansing of the mental and physical home. I think that the tangerines also represent the new wave of crops, so the fruit physically represents the new taking place of the old. I think the theme of reds and oranges in Chinese culture symbolizing good fortune or good luck is an interesting trend.