Persimmons appear on the branches in October and November, looking like red lanterns swaying in the breeze. With a history of more than three thousand years of cultivation in China, persimmon is popular in the country. Why are people so fond of this fruit, and how do people celebrate it?
The Chinese name of persimmon first appeared in a book written by students of Confucious, dating back more than two thousand years ago, and considered a precious food. Then the persimmon trees were planted as ornaments in the royal garden of the West Han Dynasty (BC221 - AC220). Hundreds of years later, with the technical developments of graft and removing astringency, the trees were widely cultivated since Tang Dynasty (AC618 - AC907).
The round shape symbolizes reunion and auspicious times in China. Persimmon in Chinese is "shi," which sounds like another Chinese word "shi" which means matters and affairs in English, expressing people's good wishes for "everything goes well" when they say "shi shi ru yi." As the most favourable colour in the country, red indicates prosperity, luck and happiness. Many designs and shapes are related to persimmons. Many artists also painted the fruit, such as A Branch of Persimmon and a Butterfly by the great master Qi Baishi.
In addition to the connotation of the persimmon, the fruit is welcomed because of its sweet taste. In November, harvested persimmons have already been strung together and hung up in front of almost every house, waiting to be dried in a natural process. When they are ready for consumption, a light white coating of sugar is developed on the surface. This "icing sugar" is edible and is a sign of the fruit's sweetness.