Fun with gourds

We had so much fun with cabbages in the last post, I thought we’d try gourds. No toilets this time, though.

Why are these gourds, which are called hú lu (葫芦), all over this neighbourhood?

Taxi drivers hang little ones from their rear-view mirror sometimes. Restaurants and businesses hang them on the walls. People hang them from the bars over their windows. What’s the deal with the gourds?

I’ll give you a clue: it’s indirectly related to cabbages, and it’s a wordplay.

[CLICK HERE to reveal the answer.]

[Updated 08-10-03] I’ve heard two different explanations from locals. I have no idea which if either is more accurate.
  1. The gourds are shaped like number 8’s. “Eight” in Mandarin is pronounced . sounds like (发), and fā cái (发财) means “to get rich.” (发) is also part of the Chinese New Years greeting we used to mimic in elementary school: gōng xǐ fā cái (恭喜发财). The connection between the shape of the gourds and getting rich makes them a popular good luck trinket.
  2. Our neighbours, who grow húlus on their yángtái, say it has nothing to do with the number 8. They say people like them because húlu sounds like fúlù, which has something to do with 福 (blessing; good fortune), and I’m guessing the is 禄 (good fortune; government job) but they didn’t give me the hànzì.

I asked how much they cost – apparently it depends on the shape and quality. The guy told me over 800元 ($114) for the best ones with painted pictures on them, and 5元 ($0.71) for the cheapest ones.

4 thoughts on “Fun with gourds”

  1. I heard there’s another reason – I’ll go ask…

    …they said 8 is lucky because it sounds like 发 (). I asked if there were other reason, and they said no, but I’ll ask around some more and see what I get. When are you going to post again?

  2. Actually, that might all be totally wrong. Our neighbours, who grow húlus on their yángtái, just told us it has nothing to do with the number 8. People like them because húlu sounds like fúlù, which has something to do with 福, and I’m guessing the is 禄 but they didn’t give me the hànzì.

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