Here at Andy Pandy we know a little bit about bamboo. This plant grows fast, it is very strong and resilient, and can be turned into many, many useful things (like our super soft and strong diapers!) Long ago it was used for everything: houses, food, clothing, books, paper, even weapons. It was also used in folklore throughout the years, with morals and messages of healing and resilience.
There are over 400 known species of bamboo, and 1/3 of them grow in China. Bamboo has been found out to be around for over 10,000 years- it is no wonder that it is used as a method of symbology. The tall straight stems represent honor. And the hollow interior represents modesty and being free of any worldly attachments. The clean green exterior represents virtue and honesty. Bamboo has been used as an example of harmony between nature and humans, and rightly so. It has the ability to flex without breaking, a good trait to have especially in these hard times.
In Chinese folklore, there is a story called, “He Cried and the Bamboo Sprouted.” In this ancient tale, a boy lives alone with his mother because his dad died when he was very young. His mother comes down with a serious illness, and the doctor prescribes a hearty soup made with fresh bamboo sprouts. The boy looks everywhere because it is winter, and he can’t find any bamboo. He goes into the forest and cries profusely, so sad that he cannot help his dying mother. As his tears sink into the soil, new bamboo chutes begin to sprout from the earth, and the boy gathers them up and rushes home to prepare the soup. Right on the brink of death, his mom takes a sip. She is restored!
If you cut a stalk of bamboo, it keeps on growing, in almost any climate, with very little resources. It is strong and flexible. It has a hollow inside, so as to not be bogged down with heavy things. If this isn’t a metaphor for how we can all live our lives, I don’t know what is! Bamboo is amazing, and we can all learn a little something from it! We may be cut down, but we can all still grow. We don’t need much, if we have each other.