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 hÃº lu (è‘«èŠ¦), 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.]
- The gourds are shaped like number 8’s. “Eight” in Mandarin is pronounced bÄ. BÄ sounds like fÄ (å‘), and fÄ cÃ¡i (å‘è´¢) means “to get rich.” FÄ (å‘) is also part of the Chinese New Years greeting we used to mimic in elementary school: gÅng xÇ fÄ cÃ¡i (æå–œå‘è´¢). The connection between the shape of the gourds and getting rich makes them a popular good luck trinket.
- Our neighbours, who grow hÃºlus on their yÃ¡ngtÃ¡i, say it has nothing to do with the number 8. They say people like them because hÃºlu sounds like fÃºlÃ¹, which has something to do with ç¦ (blessing; good fortune), and I’m guessing the lÃ¹ is ç¦„ (good fortune; government job) but they didn’t give me the hÃ nzÃ¬.
I asked how much they cost – apparently it depends on the shape and quality. The guy told me over 800å…ƒ ($114) for the best ones with painted pictures on them, and 5å…ƒ ($0.71) for the cheapest ones.