They’re a time-honored tradition that bear a striking resemblance to the peach emoji.
A longevity peach is a steamed Chinese dessert bun. Made of soft white dough and filled with lotus seed paste or custard, it is often served at birthday celebrations, especially for the elderly, as a blessing for a long life. Longevity peaches are shaped and colored like peaches with a creased line and a pink-red wash. Since real peaches are not always in season, peach buns are a way of serving up a meaningful birthday wish any month of the year.
The link between peaches and longevity comes from The Queen Mother of the West, a Chinese goddess in the Taoist tradition. Also known as Xiwangmu, she grows the peaches of immortality in her garden on the mythical Kunlun mountain. Every three thousand years, she gathers together immortals to eat the ripe peaches so that they will become young again. The peach appears often in art and sculpture in China and nearby countries. One of the three gods of good luck, Shou Xing, is usually depicted carrying a staff in one hand and a longevity peach in the other, to symbolize his status as the god of long life and old age.
Longevity peaches are usually quite small, but occasionally large birthday cakes can be shaped like peaches.