Dumplings are the go-to dish when it comes to Chinese food. There is no Chinese restaurant without this beloved dish, and people from all over the world cannot get enough of it. Whether it is for simple occasions, such as the approaching Chinese Lunar New Year, the presence of dumplings is a must. It is not just because of its great taste, but because of its meaning in Chinese culture.
If you are curious about why dumplings are so unique, here is what you need to know.
The Start of Dumpling in China
A Chinese legend says that, in the Han Dynasty, a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician named Zhang Zhongjian came back to his ancestral village one winter and noticed that his fellow villagers were suffering from frostbite, particularly in their ears. A disease was gradually becoming an epidemic.
As a way to help, Zhang Zhongjian created a meal for these people. He used some scrap dough and filled it with mutton, chili, and some healing herbs. He shaped them to look like ears, boiled them, and gave them to his neighbors.
After a few days, the frostbite was gone, and the epidemic was under control. Everyone loved his creation, so they decided to recreate it and keep the tradition alive.
A Symbol of Love and Togetherness
Other theories of history say that dumplings were created to stretch out a small amount of food and feed more people. Having a small portion of meat wrapped in dough is not enough to make anyone full, but if you add vegetables and seasoning, the food would be filling enough for the tummy.
Every Chinese Lunar New Year, Chinese families would serve different types and shapes of dumplings. Family members would join together to create this incredible food while catching up and exchanging stories. They would spend a memorable time together as they prepare the filling and do the wrap. By working together, a family could make enough dumplings to feed a lot of people. Once they are done and served, everyone can enjoy the food.
Placing different dumplings together also has a symbolic meaning. It represents the value that Chinese people give to working and staying together. They say that the more you eat them together, the better your bond will become.
A Symbol of Better Year Ahead
There is another tradition that Chinese people do every New Year. As previously mentioned, Chinese families would serve different kinds and types of dumplings every New Year. If any family member bites down on a gold coin in their New Year dumpling, that person is bound to have significant wealth in the coming year.
However, this tradition does not mean that there is indeed a gold coin hidden in one of the dumplings. Chinese people create a special yellow-tinged dumpling to represent gold and wealth. It has been a tradition for centuries that is still implemented in the present. Having a bite of this yellow-tinged dumpling is a symbol of aligning yourself with wealth and prosperity.
Dumplings are a much-loved food not just because of their rich flavor but because of the rich history and culture. The next time you have a bite of this universally loved snack, remember that you would be enjoying food that is highly valued across the world.
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