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Vendors sell roses at Central Market in Phnom Penh

Vendors sell roses at Central Market in Phnom Penh

When people go to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day in Phnom Penh, Central Market is a popular choice because it offers a variety of more than 10 different flower shops.

One of them is Srey Flower Shop. Owner Srey says business on Valentine’s Day increases by 10 times over other days each year.

“The flower selling at Valentine’s Day increases at least 10 fold compared to normal days and we almost sell only roses that day.”

Srey said she ordered 4,000 roses from Vietnam last year and sold out 99 per cent of them on that single day of February 14, 2012.

This year, however, Srey ordered only 3,000 roses because Valentine’s Day lands during Chinese New Year.

“We thing some of our younger customers will be visiting their families outside Cambodia, so they might not have time to buy roses for their girlfriends.”

Most of the flower shops at Central Market are located near the entry way. A typical Valentine’s Day rose sells for 3000 Riel, about $.75, and up to a dollar if the customer asks that it be wrapped in a beautiful way.

“Red and pink roses are the most favourite because red roses stand for love and pink roses refer to the beginning of love,” one flower seller said.

She reported that the numbers of young buyers of roses has increased by about 50 per cent, while buyers 30 years of age has increased by about 20 per cent and sales those more than 40 years old, including foreigners, have increased by about 10 per cent.

Youn Sothear, owner of Pasteur Flower Shop along Pasteur Road, said that this year she ordered 1,000 roses from Thailand and Vietnam. Her prices are one rose for one dollar.

“Every year my shop sells more roses from Thailand than from Vietnam because Thai roses are big and can keep 4 or five days,” she said.

Mrs. Youn Sothear said she ordered 20 to 30 per cent fewer roses this year than last year because of the coincidence with Chinese New Year. She also noticed that the number of other flower sellers had also increased.

She sells roses from Thailand for 3,000 Riel and roses from Vietnam for 2,200 Riel.

Beside fresh flowers, she also sells cloth and plastic flowers. Some customers buy artificial flowers to decorate their homes, she said, adding that artificial flowers don’t sell much during Valentine’s Day because customers favor fresh flowers.

“Our biggest selling bunch of flowers consists of 99 roses. These come as special orders from customers cost 100 dollars,” she said.

There are several meanings for rose is several meaning in the Cambodian tradition. Red stands for love, for instance, pink for the first love, white for purity of mind, yellow for friendship, and orange for harmony.

Valentine’s Day grew in popularity in Cambodia through the teaching of English during the last 20 years and has become increasingly popular.

Cambodian young people increasingly show their love publicly through the vehicle of Valentine’s Day, in a tradition that emphasises politeness, friendship and morality.

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