On the smog-covered streets of Beijing, among the crowds of people in the Houhai district, something new has been popping up:
Fake sprouts growing out of the tops of peoples' heads, mostly made of plastic, are appearing in the Chinese capital. It could be social commentary on the air quality problems that continue to worsen in China. Or a statement on the need for more investment in green energy. But The Beijinger writes:
According to a Sohu article, rather than a political comment on Beijing's stance towards pollution, the trend originates from an unspecified cosplay convention, after which time they became the latest hot way to maimeng (卖萌), or act cute. The article goes on to say that the sprouts don't necessarily have a particular meaning, although grass is supposed to denote intelligence while a four-leaf clover, you guessed it, signifies luck.
You can get one of the clip-ons for about a dime at street retailers, Shanghaiist writes, or at an online store if you're ready to bring fake sprout headpieces to the U.S.