Use of the peach as a symbol of longevity originated over two thousand years ago. 'Longevity Peaches' (壽桃) are steamed buns made of dough shaped like a peach and filled with red bean, date, or lotus-seed paste. The buns are served at an elder's birthday to wish long life and good health for many years to come. Not only the fruit but also the wood and blossoms of the peach tree are symbolic. Bad spirits feared peach wood and so peach wood charms were often hung outside doors or gates to keep them away. Door gods would be engraved or drawn on peach wood, or only their names would be written on peach wood. Peach pits were carved into little amulets and given to children to protect them and ensure long life. Classical poems and texts often mention Peach blossoms (桃花) as metaphors for springtime and beauty.


Vivien Sung, Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness and Wealth, pp. 126-127, Chronicle Books, 2002