Why do the Chinese use Chopsticks instead of Forks?

Why do the Chinese use Chopsticks instead of Forks?

Do you know the interesting fact that the Chinese use 45 billion pairs of chopsticks every year? Why do the Chinese use chopsticks instead of Forks or just hands? Today let's find it out. Obviously, you are able to use chopsticks to pick up nearly everything. And even tie your hair. Chopsticks are nothing but a pair of two long sticks. Bamboo and wood are the most popular material because it is inexpensive. These materials are readily available, easy to split, and resistant to heat.

Chopsticks Range

The rich people, however, often have a lot more expensive chopsticks than usual. These chopsticks are of jade, gold, and ivory. The most expensive chopsticks are around 34,000 dollars. What the heck? Features eighty-four high-quality diamonds. The cheapest one is only a couple of bucks.

History of Chopsticks

The recorded history of chopsticks is as early as Shang Dynasty. Shang Dynasty is about three thousand years ago. People in Shang Dynasty loves cooking with tripods something like hotpot. Yes, everybody likes hotpot. And, chopsticks were really useful because it is easy for you to stir. And easy to reach food without getting burnt as the water was boiling.

Admittedly, it takes some effort and time to learn to use chopsticks. China and the United States began diplomatic engagement in 1970. Richard Nixon had to practice eating with chopsticks for several months.

Use of Chopsticks

So how to hold chopsticks? Holding a chopstick is like holding a pen, except that you have two of them. And there are definitely some no-nos with chopsticks. You cant do these things with chopsticks.

  • Don't Tap Your Chopsticks
  • Don’t pass food with chopsticks
  • Never rub disposable chopsticks together
  • It is better to not stick chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice
  • The best thing is, do not cross chopsticks into an X shape
  • A good tip is do not use chopsticks to pull plates etc
  • Do not use chopsticks to point at people

Why do the Chinese use Chopsticks instead of Forks? (A brief towards Chinese Philosophy and Culture)

Yin-Yang Theory

Chopsticks are not just utensils. They demonstrate Chinese philosophy notably the Yin-Yang theory. The Yin and Yang theory says that the nature of things is categorized into Yin or Yang. Yin and Yang are two opposing characteristics. Yin commonly is related to matters or states still, stable, cold, passive, weak. While Yang at the opposite moving, changing, warm, active, strong.

Chinese Philosophy about why do the Chinese use chopsticks instead of forks?

Chopstick is called "a pair of chopsticks" instead of "two chopsticks." It reflects an idea that Yin and Yang are actually one thing in a sense the two chopsticks are identical. Either one represents Yin or Yang just like Yang is able to turn into Yin. And Yin is able to turn into Yang.

When a chopstick is used to transfer food, the upper chopstick must move (Yang). While the lowest one has to stay stable (Yin). Otherwise, chopsticks will now no longer be functional. Yin and Yang are included in every chopstick as well. The historic Chinese consider that heaven turned into spherical and the earth turned into a square. The upper part of a chopstick is square, symbolizing earth (Yin). While the lower part is round, representing heaven (Yang).

Wedding Gift

Chopsticks are actually a wedding gift. A pair of chopsticks represents a good wish of living together as a couple forever in Chinese culture. In addition, chopsticks are called kuaizi (筷子). Kuaizi resembles the pronunciation of two other words.

  • 筷 = soon
  • 子 = son

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It is usually a popular good wish for newlyweds to have babies as soon as possible. More importantly, chopsticks reflect the communal nature of eating food. You have these dishes in the middle, it's very family style. You go in with your chopsticks and you put your food on your rice.

Symbol of Togetherness

Why chopsticks are so long? Because you are able to share food with those sitting around you. Thus strengthening the bond among family members. It is actually a symbol of togetherness. Chopsticks also reflect courtesy and caring when having a meal with the elderly. People wait for the elderly to move chopsticks first. And try to keep pace with them by not eating too fast or too slow. It shows respect for the elderly.

Chopsticks are a critical part of our daily life. How a person may live without chopsticks? These are the reasons that why do the Chinese use chopsticks instead of forks!