Chopsticks are a pair of sticks to be used when eating. They were first used in China and then introduced to other areas in the world. Chopsticks are considered as the quintessence of Chinese culture and is reputed to be of “Oriental Civilization”. Stated below are 8 things you need to know about Chinese Chop sticks.
1. When were chopsticks invented?
In fact, before the invention of chopsticks, Chinese ancestors actually used hands to eat. This leads to the question, how would they have soup and porridge? They had to use sticks to eat them. Chinese started to use chopsticks about 3,000 years ago in Shang dynasty. According to “Records of the Grand Historian”, King of Zhou, the last king of Shang dynasty already used ivory chopsticks. On this basis, China has at least three thousand years of history. During Qin and Han dynasties, they were called “Zhu”. Because “Zhu” shares the same sound with “stop” in Chinese, which is an unlucky word, people began to call it “Kuai”, meaning “fast” in Chinese. This is the origin of the name of Chinese chopsticks which we use today.
2. Who invented chopsticks?
The records of using chopsticks have been found in many written books but lack physical evidence. However, there are many folklore about the invention of chopsticks. One says that Jiang Ziya, an ancient Chinese military strategist created chopsticks inspired by a mythical bird. Another one goes that, Daji, the favorite consort of King of Zhou, invented chopsticks in order to please the king. There is yet another saying that Yu the Great, a legendary ruler in ancient China, used sticks to pick hot food in order to save time for controlling floods. But there is no exact history record about who invented chopsticks, we can only say that the smart ancient Chinese invented chopsticks.
3. What are chopsticks made of?
Chopsticks are made from many different materials such as bamboo, wood, plastic, porcelain, silver, bronze, ivory, jade, bone and stone. Bamboo chopsticks are most frequently used in Chinese daily life.
4. How to use Chinese chopsticks.
Using two slim sticks to pick up food is actually not difficult. You can do it as long as you practice it for some time. Actually, many foreigners in China have a masterly command of chopsticks like Chinese. The key of using chopsticks is keeping one chopstick in position while pivoting the other one to pick up food. It would be boring and difficult to understand how to use it in words. You could always search on Youtube for tutorials on how to use them like a perfectionist. But be patient, it comes with practice.
6. The Philosophy of Chinese Chopsticks
Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479BC) advised people to use chopsticks instead of knives because the metal knives remind people of cold weapons, which mean killing and violence. So he suggested instead to ban knives on the dining table and use wooden chopsticks.
7. When Chopsticks were introduced to other countries.
Chopsticks were introduced into the Korean peninsula from China in the Han Dynasty, where it expanded to the entire peninsula at about 600 AD. Japanese chopsticks were brought in by Buddhist monk named Konghai from China’s Tang dynasty. Konghai once said during his missionary work “Those using chopsticks will be saved” meaning that just using chopsticks, people can be saved after death, so chopsticks spread in Japan soon this way. After the Ming and Qing Dynasties, chopsticks were gradually brought to Malaysia, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries.
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