Do You Know What the Symbol of Prosperity Is for Chinese New Year?

For Chinese New Year, people put gourds on their front doors for good fortune and to ward off bad luck. (Image: Secret China)
For Chinese New Year, people put gourds on their front doors for good fortune and to ward off bad luck. (Image: Secret China)

In traditional Chinese culture, certain plants are associated with the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year celebrations.

Each one has particular meanings, for example peony and peach blossoms represent never ending friendship.

A particularly important plant is the gourd which stands for abundant wealth, and the bottle gourd symbolizes longevity and good fortune.

It is believed that the gourd contains a magic nectar that promotes life.

The word for gourd is pronounced “hulu,” which is a homonym for fortune and prosperity.  Chinese people of all ages love gourds, and often hang them on the door to ward off evil.

Gourds come in various forms. Their naturally elegant appearance, even when unpolished, represent a festive and peaceful beauty.

A common variety looks like two spheres on top of each other with a narrow waist. This type symbolizes harmony and happiness. Hanging one on the bedhead strengthens the marital relationship between a husband and wife.

Gourds can also be used as medicine because they help to eliminate bad energy from the body. By placing a gourd next to a sick person, this will draw out the negative energy and assist a speedy recovery. For a healthy person, it will increase their fortune.

Chinese people cherish gourds. They played an important role not only in the material life of ancient Chinese people, but also in the relationships between literature, art, religion, folklore, mythology, and even politics.

In short, the gourd has become an auspicious symbol, and a fruit with deep meaning, rather than just a melon on a vine.

Translated by Natasha Yang

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