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Our friend the Pomelo…

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Chinese New Year (CNY) brings with it many traditions to our little island. Among them is the abundance of Pomelos. Big, green, Pomelos. I could not fathom the attraction, but luckily our friend the internet is here to help.

But before that, a small side bar. I was mentioning to my new co-woker that Paul had come home with a Pomelo from Chinatown. Why, I have no idea, perhaps peer pressure. The sheer amount of them stacked up on the street implies that you simply must have one, and that by not having one you clearly are missing out on the fun. So Paul got a Pomelo.

It sat around for a few days before succumbing to the cutting board and becoming a breakfast treat. I related all this to my co-worker, and when I mentioned we chopped it half and ate it, she giggled a little bit. I knew something had gone wrong. I asked her about it and she said that it was just for decoration, but that it was just a tradition, and she was sure it was OK that we ate it (subtext, since we were gringos with no clue) I think she genuinely found it amusing.

So, here’s what the net says about Pomelos at CNY:

The green pomelo, which becomes yellow when ripe, is a common sight in the shops of  Chinatown before the new year. It is a delicious fruit, and the rind can be used in Chinese cooking. The Chinese believe it is important to have at least one pomelo in the house for decoration, or better still, to have a pair, since good things always come in pairs. In Cantonese, the word for Pomelo is similar in sound to the phrase “to have.” To use a pomelo to decorate one’s home during the new year implies a wish that the home will have everything it needs the coming year.

Oddly enough this is a common thing, when words for something sounds like a good thing to have they become auspicious symbols.  See also among other things the number 8.

So, now knowing that Pomelos should be kept around to bring us all our dreams, we are left to ponder what the photo below implies:

We will assume that since Paul cut the thing in 1/2, it’s his half of everything he could want that won’t be coming into the house……looks like I’m safe


3 responses »

  1. I bought a yellow one of these at either Kroger or the fruit market here – when you cut it in half the other direction it looks like a grapefruit – tastes like one, too but much thicker rind.

  2. Lucy LOVES these and Kate loves the juice. We eat one a day here.

  3. And yes, I did catch the irony in your photo…


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