Fragrant Pouches and Purse Hooks

June 16 of this year is the Duanwu Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday that falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. I, of course, did not know this. I got the memo, so to speak, from the manufacturer of my prospective Taryn Zhang purse hooks. They sent me a gift of several lovely ornaments in honor of the holiday, like the above red one.

Oh but wait…you’re curious about the purse hooks.

Purse Hooks: Purse hooks are really popular in Taiwan right now, and slowly gaining momentum here in the States. Last year a friend from Taiwan visited the Bay Area and she introduced me to them. It was love at first sight. I noted to myself that one day Taryn Zhang would make purse hooks.

The ones I want to manufacture are in the shape of a medallion. The hooks hang off the edge of tables and keep your prized handbags off dirty restaurant floors. I am obsessed with these things.  

So anyway, back to the fragrant pouches. This Taiwanese company sent me xiangbao, or fragrant pouches for the Duanwu Festival. They came in the mail today. It’s a tradition to send xiangbao, like sending Christmas cards to friends and family, or coloring eggs on Easter.

Folks used to believe that these pouches expelled wickedness. Worn around the necks of children, the fragrant pouches could ward off evil and disease. Emperors and empresses would carry these things with them at all times. It’s not entirely clear to me how or why the xiangbao came to be associated with the Duanwu Festival, but it did, and they’re given out on this day.

They’re called fragrant pouches because they are very…fragrant. The smell of them attracted the resident kitty, and he wouldn’t get out of the way when I tried photographing the pouches, so there he is in the background. He really likes the fragrant pouches. Long after I put the camera away, he was still playing with the ornaments and swatting at them with his paws.

Stock photograph of a sample purse hook

Now, purse hooks. If and when I proceed with offering Taryn Zhang purse hooks, I will be proud to say that they are made in Taiwan. Taiwan is my country of origin, and a place I hold in highest regard.

And of course I will be going with the manufacturer who sends me fragrant pouches by airmail, even though we still haven’t signed on the dotted line. That is what we call good faith dealings. =) 

I realize my blogging has been haphazard lately. Vacation photos, afternoon tea, fragrant pouches…and here we thought this was a purse blog!

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