This time of the year in my country, we cannot forget to take a handkerchief with us when we go out the doors in the morning – it is hot and humid, and often rainy. It is an absolute necessity to wipe off all the sweat and raindrops to keep us dry.
An ideal hanky for me would have at least the following qualities: be absorbent but quick to dry, tough to survive damages from repeated usage, and not too small in size to have a dry part left until the end of the day.
But the majority of hankies I see being sold today are designed and prepared in a Western way… although they are lovely and could even be seen and used as accessories, they are thin and delicate, and not too large in size. In other words, they do not possess the characteristics I want at this time of the year!
That is where traditional hankies come in. They have just the attributes I am looking for, and then some. They can be washcloths for you or the dishes. They can be used as covers and wraps (and if you tie the ends, they can even become bags). They can come in handy in emergencies, substituting as bandages or, if soaked with water, as icing for swellings. And if they become used up, there are ways to make them into diapers and shoes!
My favourite traditional hankies… top: I like the way it is dyed, in different shades of yellow (simple but displays skillfulness): middle: I like the festiveness of the overlapping circles pattern, called “seven treasures”; bottom: printed is the family (left, in navy blue) and personal (right, in sky blue) emblems of my favourite traditional theatre arts performer
I thought that this week, my people in the regions affected by the big earthquakes back in mid-April could use some traditional hankies, having either extremely hot and humid weather or extreme amounts of rainfall, leading to tearful setbacks in their paths to regaining everyday lives. (And also our neighbouring Asian regions affected by Typhoon Nepartak this week.)
Maybe you can join me in sending some hankies with distinct characteristics of your culture?
Just as with all previous get well messages which started with sending flower power, you are not asked to do anything special or extraordinary. Only that, if you have pieces of cloths that can wipe away the rain and sweat and tears and all other liquids, and/or give warm and fuzzy feelings, you would kindly share it with my people.
Maybe you can take a snapshot of your hankies and post it on your site?
And maybe you can let me know by leaving a comment?
Again, there is no need for you to go out of your way… but if you find pretty yet practical hankies in your pocket or bag, in the hands of the people around you (try grandma’s, they usually have a collection!), or at museums, I would love to see them. I would also love to know what other interesting and creative usages of hankies there are in the world!
Thank you as always to all of you who come here, rain or shine, to read through my post(s). It is a pleasure to have you over, from different parts of the world and with different backgrounds, and see you share a time and space with others and me. Does it not feel like we are wrapped in one big handkerchief of thought… like this one?
Water flowing and flower floating!