There is one flower that everyone in Vietnam loves to talk about before and during Lunar New Year is none other than peach blossom. The conversations that make a homeowner proud can simply go like this: Where do you buy it from, How much does it cost, What a branch of peach blossom did you get etc... The fragile-looking flower with five cotton candy colored petals is not like any of another ordinary plant. It's an essential symbol that has very strong impact to every Vietnamese home. It's believed to bring love, joy and happiness to everyone in the family in this special time of the year. To Vietnamese people, if there is no peach blossom branch in the house, there is no New Year. That's how important this unique flower is.
After 20 years, this was the first time I had the opportunity to shoot with this iconic flower that stays so close to my heart. The photoshoot was even more special to me as it's done by my dearest mommy in my own house. I love peach blossom not only because it's pink (my favorite color) but also it's a part of my teenage's memory that I would never forget. I have too many memories growing up, I know, and you wouldn't believe it.
When I was 14, my family used to sell peach blossom branches to get extra income during New Year. While other families happily went shopping for New Year, we were standing in the open-air market from 9am to 10pm, trying to sell every single peach blossom plant before New Year's Eve regardless the 10°C (50 °F) temperature with the freezing wind blew to our face, hunger and fatigue. We did this for 6 years without fail. I was too young to understand how hard my parents were trying to make a living, to give me a comfortable New Year. I was so looking forward to New Year so that I could see so many beautiful flowers in my backyard, pink petals on the floor, and I was very excited if I got a chance to go to the market. I even helped mom to sell one tree for $30 after negotiating with the customer. The truth was he bought from me because I was too cute. That's when I knew I was good at selling (just kidding)
Fast forward 15 years, we are no longer the sellers. I and my dad still love going to the market every year (still the same open-air market that we stood at 15 years ago, but it looks much more modern now), to buy a nice peach blossom branch to decorate our house and to remind ourselves how hard we used to live. He wants me to remember who we were, what we did to appreciate what we have today. As usual, while he is looking for a beautiful plant, I'm looking around, hopping to see if there is any kid selling the peach blossom tree nearby, but I have yet to see anyone for the past 5 years. I guess kids are living much better now, which is a good thing.