Blue flowers


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Sometimes when you start reading something on Wikipedia, you eventually end up in a corner of it you didn’t intend to get into. In that sense it’s a lot like TVTropes, though I still think that’s a worse offender in terms of tab multiplication.

In any case, I ended up on the Charles and Lily Chan Wikipedia page after looking at various other Chinese-related topics today. A particular segment caught my eye amidst the terrible tales of suffering and loss:

[Charles] noticed the blue flower in her hair. According to the autobiography, I Am Jackie Chan; My Life in Action, during the war in China, a white flower in one's hair signified that one had lost their parents, a blue flower meant that they lost their children and/or husband.

I’ve always known about the white flower aspect, as my parents would often tell me that wearing white on my head is bad, though the reason it was bad often changed or was unclear.

At first it was described as bad luck. But as I grew older I came to be told that it meant that your ‘mother’ had died, and as my mother was obviously alive it represented a wish that my mother die. Eventually I figured out it really mean that your ‘parents’ had died, rather than a specific parent.

Regardless of the less-than-accurate information, I’d never heard of wearing a blue flower in one’s hair before. This is possibly explainable due to the fact as a young girl, I couldn’t possibly have children and/or a husband at my age (or so they believe, although plenty of kids these days have teenage pregnancies, apparently).

A search of the internet hasn’t come up with anything either, but if Jackie Chan wrote it, it must be true, right?

If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s not only is flower language confusing, but flower hair language can be dangerous. Especially when translating between Eastern and Western cultures. If “wear[ing] blooms over the left ear to signify that she is unmarried” is true, it would seem that Hinata Hyuga is saying she’s unmarried/available at her own wedding… or does it signify she was unmarried until she got married?

The language of flowers is too complex for me.


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