If you live in a Chinoy household, then you likely have a lot of ornaments scattered around the house. These ornaments might not always fit the aesthetic or the interior design of your home, but you keep them around anyway because you know they are important. Of course, there are times when you don’t exactly know their purpose because they were placed there by your parents or grandparents, and if you’re still wondering up until now, here are some of the common ornaments found in Chinoy households and what they are for.
It’s better known as hulu (葫芦) in Chinese, and it’s usually displayed in the house for good health. The Calabash is actually a fruit that resembles a green melon, except it’s narrow in the middle. It’s also called Bottle Gourd because people in Ancient China would fashion their water flasks in the shape of the Calabash. These flasks usually contain medicine, and doctors would hang a Calabash in their stalls to identify themselves as medical practitioners. This is how the Calabash eventually became a symbol of good health. In Chinese mythology, the Calabash is often depicted as a vessel that can confine evil spirits, which is also why Calabashes are used as symbols to ward off evil spirits. In addition, they’re also symbols of wealth because the Chinese pronunciation of Bottle Gourd sounds similar to fulu (福禄), which means happiness and good fortune.
The purpose of the money tree is relatively straightforward. It’s a symbol of affluence and nobility, which is why you would often see it in business establishments. The belief in the money tree dates back to the Han Dynasty, and it’s based on the myth about a sculptor who bribed the villagers to cut down a tree for him by placing fake money in the leaves. The tree eventually became sacred, and if you touch one of the leaves, you will be blessed with good fortune. In the end, the sculptor is warned not to cut or harm the tree, or else he will be cursed.
These lucky cat statues are already cute, so it wouldn’t really matter if they don’t have a purpose aside from decoration. But they do have a purpose because the fact that their paws are raised means that they are welcoming new customers. Over time, lucky cats have become synonymous to welcoming wealth, which is why they are usually found at the entrance of business establishments. They may be placed at home as well because they are also symbols of protection. You may read more about lucky cats here.
Bagua (Pa Kua)
Baguas are small mirrors that you see hanging above doors. They may look like decorative items, but they are actually important to Feng Shui because they are used to redirect negative energy. However, you can’t just use them whenever you want unless your home has bad Feng Shui (e.g. Your front door is directly across another door or a sharp corner of a building is facing towards your home). There are also two types of mirrors: concave and convex. The concave mirror neutralizes and absorbs negative energy while the convex mirror deflects negative energy. Be sure to consult with a Feng Shui expert when deciding which type of bagua to use.
Windchimes are a popular decoration item for a lot of cultures, but the wind chimes in Chinoy households are likely decorated with bells, gold ingots or coins. Although wind chimes are a good source of ambient noise, they also have a purpose for Feng Shui as well. The sound of the wind chimes is believed to be able to shift energy, driving out negative energy and welcoming positive energy into a space. It’s also believed to bring good luck to your home.
You will likely find the fortune symbol (福) in almost every room in a Chinoy household. The word fu (福) means good luck and good fortune, so you would understand why it’s everywhere. The most common place you’ll find the fortune symbol is on calendars, but you might also find it written on a sheet of red paper that’s shaped like a diamond. It’s placed on the front door at the beginning of the year, and it’s often inverted to symbolize good fortune pouring into your household.
The purpose of the money frog or chan chuy (蟾蜍) is also fairly straightforward. It’s a golden frog sitting on a pile of coins or gold ingots, so it definitely represents good wealth. The belief is based on a mythical frog creature that appears every full moon, and when you see it near your house or your business establishment, you will most likely receive good news (which is typically related to wealth). The money frog not only attracts money, but also guards it as well, which is why it’s depicted with a hoard of gold.
The water fountains that you see in Chinoy households likely don’t resemble the water fountains you’ll find in parks. Most of them are in the shape of a waterfall, with a rotating orb at the center, but some of the more creative ones have a mini forest surrounding the waterfall. Although they are indeed very aesthetic, they also serve a purpose in Feng Shui. Water is associated with wealth and abundance, so having a fountain in your home represents an endless flow of wealth into your life.