Hold on to your dear symbols

This may seem like an obscure work of art, but…

This may seem like an obscure work of art, but in fact they are the ingredients of a particular soup, or rather life enhancing potion if you ask me. Dried roots from far-away plants, poisonous mushrooms, bark and peel from unknown fruit-trees, seeds from rare inedible vegetables and of course scorpions are amongst its substances. Cook this in a specially designed cooking pot with two clay handles and a kind of chimney for about 3 hours, and you just made yourself one of the most potent and resistance-increasing soups in the northern hemisphere, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

This is my 100th post and I have long wondered what I would dedicate this post to. However, after pondering long enough about this, I started to ask myself what makes ‘100’ special. Is it merely the addition of another digit? Being born and raised in The Netherlands, my native cultural background could not offer me any explanation why the number ‘100’ should be anything more distinctive than ’99’ or ‘101’.

Yet Chinese culture has a myriad of meanings and interpretations of various numbers, signs and symbols.

The number ‘2’ for instance is a lucky number. According to folklore, all good things come in couples. Which has resulted in brand names like ‘Double happiness’, why wish some single happiness if you could wish them double that amount?

The number ‘6’, known from the idiom “六六大順” (Liu4 Liu4 Da4 Shun4), means ‘all will go smoothly/successful’. Imagine how fortunate the number ‘666’ appears to Chinese.

The number ‘8’ is very much loved by the business community, as the pronunciation is similar to ‘to prosper’. Hence car number plates, phones numbers, which hold this number are priced much higher due to high demand.

The Chinese symbol in the middle ‘‘, is frequently printed on the red envelopes with various amounts of money (mostly 60 or 80 Yuan) inside, which are being handed to children upon leaving their (grand)parents house, until they are married. The symbol means ‘fortunate’, ‘goodness’ and ‘happiness’. You may have seen this symbol before in some of my pictures, when it is displayed on or besides doorposts. Often hung up-side-down, as the Chinese word for up-side-down (‘Dao4’) is pronounced similar to the Chinese word ‘arrive’ (also ‘Dao4′), hence the meaning would imply’ Goodness will arrive’.

A month ago, my mother in-law has received the news she got cancer. Since then, my girlfriend’s parents have lived in our house, so they would be nearby the cancer clinic in case a free bed would be available. The ingredients in the pictures, are part of the diet she was on, preparing her to conquer this disease. After waiting for a long time, today is the day she will leave our home and start chemotherapy. Having lived with them in our home during the last period, I wanted to make something for her, for all the red envelopes we have ever received visiting them at their home. I wish her all the strength, prosperity, goodness and fortune she needs.

%d bloggers like this: