- Gordon Dumoulin
Hulu time in our family garden in Beijing’s countryside…
This week our youngest son brought back some hulu (葫芦), in English called Chinese gourd or calabash, from our family garden in the countryside of Tongzhou district in Beijing where he was visiting his grandparents. Hulu gourds often hang on vines covering courtyard walls at houses and temples.
These gourds are already way past their edible stage. Only during spring and early summer, their soft, bland flesh is delicious and healthy for soups, stews or stir-fried dishes. But during the course of the hot summer, the flesh is quickly drying out and the skin becoming a rigid and durable shell.
The Hulu has played significance in Chinese culture and history. As a symbol of health and luck, dried hulu gourds have been decorated and hung in houses and temples for over centuries. The durable shells have been used as containers for wine and Chinese herbal medicinal tinctures since ancient times.
Also in Feng Shui practices, hulu gourds are used to absorb the negative Qi. In Chinese jewelry stores, it is common to find jade or cold in the shape of a hulu as a necklace.
Our son took the hulu gourds to kindergarten this morning for their 'art inspiration' today 😊
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