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Hue and Yellow Apricot

TTH.VN - Each person and family reminisce about old times when apricot color shone in front of the Citadel. The Yellow Apricot - Hoang Mai flower is a symbol of spring, family reunion, harmony between heaven and earth, and the nation. It has surpassed its value as a flower to become a symbol of the Ancient Capital.

Nearly 400 outstanding works participate in the Yellow Apricot Festival in HueMore than 100 Hue yellow apricot trees provided with nametags and QR codesPropagating yellow apricotsTowards turning Thua Thien Hue into Vietnam’s land of yellow apricotsBranding and promoting the value of Hue yellow apricot blossoms

 Yellow apricot in Hue Imperial City. Photo: Bao Minh

For our age group, the yellow apricot blossoms play a crucial role in every family during Tet and springtime. Despite any difficulties, each family made an effort to purchase or borrow an apricot branch. Even those with apricot trees in their garden, they would cut a beautiful branch and place it in a vase for celebrating Tet. We waited until New Year's Eve and woke up early on the first day of Tet to count with our parents and see how many flowers our family would bloom. During the new year, flowers bloom with five, six, seven, eight, or nine petals, each representing a wish for happiness and luck in the coming year for each family. It's amazing how the yellow apricot has become such a natural part of the life and consciousness of every citizen of Hue!

As society develops, the tradition of adorning homes with yellow apricot branches during Tet is gradually disappearing. The colors of spring are still as beautiful as ever, but there seems to be something missing within us. As we grow older, we often reflect on the past and suddenly realize the absence of the vibrant yellow hue of Hue's apricot blossoms. Even though the Tet space is still filled with flowers, it's not quite the same without them.

The desire is to “revive” the yellow apricot tree and its inherent tradition, which embodies the warmth of spring and the vibrant yellow color, making it the characteristic color of the ancient city. It is important to revive Hue's tradition of appreciating the yellow apricot blossoms, especially during Vietnam's traditional Tet holiday.

Excitedly planting apricot trees

The initiative to transform Thua Thien Hue into the land of yellow apricot in Vietnam was announced in April 2021 with the campaign “Yellow Apricot in Front of the Gate”, aimed at reviving the tradition of growing and appreciating apricot. “Yellow Apricot in Front of the Gate” has become a prominent part of the “Hue - City of Four Seasons of Flowers” movement, highlighting the traditional humanistic ecological landscape of the Ancient Capital.

Soon after the launch, everyone was excited to participate in apricot planting sessions - individuals, households, agencies, and units alike. The movement quickly spread its effect as yellow apricots became ingrained in the subconscious of the people of Hue. Their souls were filled with love for the yellow apricot. Yellow apricots have the opportunity to bloom again in the gardens of Hue. The story of yellow apricots is once again bustling on forums, alleys, and country roads. 

 Yellow apricot blossoms. Photo: Bao Minh

I have visited many areas known for growing typical yellow apricots, both in the city and the countryside. Everywhere I go, I feel excited and proud of it because people are happy that their families and homeland are preserving values that they thought had been “forgotten”, which are now being “revived”. People with apricot trees in their gardens, especially the elderly, feel youthful again. Memories of childhood waiting for spring with their parents come rushing back.

They recounted the history of the apricot tree in their garden, reminiscing about many happy and sad memories about relatives who some have passed away. As a testament to time, the old apricot tree is attached to many generations for them to ponder human life and love. They aim to make the yellow apricot a symbol of Hue, such that when people think of Hue, they also think of the yellow apricot, and vice versa. By doing so, they hope that those who grow and appreciate apricot trees will derive greater value from the yellow apricot, both in terms of material gain and spiritual fulfillment.

The appreciation of apricot blossoms as a hobby has been revived and is now spreading, ensuring that the significance of Hue's apricot blossoms is preserved for generations to come. In the ancient capital, the sight of spring is adorned with the yellow hue of Hue's apricot blossoms.

There are various tasks that management agencies, local authorities, and the apricot-growing community need to focus on. These include organizing events, forums, seminars, and festivals centered around the yellow apricot. The goal is to promote the yellow apricot's image in Hue, with the aim of establishing Hue as the land of yellow apricots in Vietnam. Technical procedures for planting and care will be established, alongside building the Hoang Mai Hue brand as a certification mark, aiming for geographical indications, and organizing production sites for various Hue yellow apricot varieties. A significant amount of effort is being dedicated to implementation, with community involvement and a strong sense of responsibility, to establish a land of yellow apricots.

Preserving and promoting the Hue apricot variety is crucial due to its scientific and unique value. Currently, gardeners are evaluating apricot seedlings with the help of experts to assign codes for management. Scientific research is being conducted to select 1-2 new apricot varieties from natural variations of the original Hue apricot “group”.

Determining the origin of apricot trees with recognized origins in the apricot community results in good traceability and a valuable set of varieties. In the future, Hue yellow apricots will be preserved using scientific methods to ensure they are available for generations to come.

Thinking about a yellow apricot festival

The Hue yellow apricot requires a lengthy growing time and the shaping and care process can vary based on the target market. There are markets that cater to high-end bonsai enthusiasts, who are relatively more experienced and skilled in the art of bonsai. The second segment is for growing apricot trees, both in public places and gardens. There are two main segments in Hue apricot. If these two segments are well-established, it will allow Hue people to appreciate Hue apricots according to their preferences and financial abilities. Creating and expanding the market for Hue apricot trees is the challenge in how to make it a real economic sector for growers.

 Photo: Bao Phuoc

It is a fact that the Hue apricot only blooms during Tet in temperatures above 25 degrees. However, this poses a challenge for growing the plant in the colder climate of the North. Therefore, there is a need to research ways to make Hue apricot bloom during Tet and spring, even when the temperature is below 25 degrees. Scientists are actively researching to resolve these issues. We anticipate results that will help Hue Yellow Apricot adapt to the northern climate and reach this region's market.

While some localities in Vietnam hold cherry blossom festivals, why doesn't Hue have its typical Yellow Apricot festival? There are enough conditions in Hue to organize the Yellow Apricot Festival soon, which could gather all varieties of yellow apricots on a national or even international scale. To accomplish this, Hue needs to make preparations. There are two requirements for the establishment of Hue's apricot tree festival. Firstly, there must be a typical tree variety of Hue's yellow apricots. Secondly, the presence of apricot forests, apricot streets, and many individuals involved in the cultivation and appreciation of apricot trees is necessary. Apricot trees will decorate public spaces in Hue, following Da Lat's cherry blossom model. We are currently delighted to have many large apricot gardens on both sides of the Imperial Citadel. Additionally, there is a yellow apricot garden at Da Vien islet; and several other yellow apricot gardens are being established in different locations, such as the Van Nien water plant and a park in Huong So. The main responsibility for creating the typical apricot spaces is still held by Hue city, which has a system of apricot gardens and concentrated apricot streets. There is also an expectation of a pine-bellowing Ngu Binh blending with the yellow color of Hue apricot trees covering the Quang Trung monument square area.

All of that indicates the community's determination and participation towards each locality having a yellow apricot garden, hill, and forest. Each office, agency, unit, school, and house should plant two apricot trees so that Hue city will be adorned with apricot trees every Tet and spring season. In order for the apricot festival to come to fruition, it is important to start planning as soon as possible to avoid missing the opportunity. Hue will take pride in being known as the city of apricot blossoms, the land of yellow apricot flowers in Vietnam.

Story: Phan Ngoc
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