蘋果 〜 Apple in Chinese Culture
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. That was one of the first lines I learned in English. My first English tutor taught me that when we were in the lesson about building sentences. It feels as if it was only yesterday when I went to her house for the first time. I must be eight or nine.
Well, I have to admit I am not so fond of eating raw apple. I love drinking its juice and cider, though. I also prefer green and yellow apples to the red ones. There is something about the aroma of a green apple that gives me an unexplainable feeling of euphoria.
The image of apple in Western culture is healthy and rather biblical. It is appreciated in Chinese culture as well as, if not better than, in the West.
The very name of apple in Chinese is 蘋果 (: Píng guǒ). It is homonym with “peaceful” (平: píng). I have once explained that Chinese folks of old decided whether things have good or bad symbolism based on the sounds of their names. (See my post about the bat) As the result of this traditional habit, the apple became a fruit that resembles the peace.
As one of the most favorable fruits in Chinese traditions, apple is presented in most occasions. It is also one of the most commonly brought gifts when visiting one’s house. Traditional Chinese folks always keep some apple in the house during the new year in the hope that the coming year will be a peaceful one.
Expecting mother were also urged to consume lots of red apple so that the baby would be born healthy and chubby. It was a common assumption in Old China that a healthy baby has red flushy cheeks.
Apple is viewed as one of the most “well-balanced” fruits in traditional Chinese medication. It is one of several fruits considered safe to eat by anybody suffering from most diseases.