Celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year with homemade dumplings

By Xie Ying, Zhang Wenjie, Fanny Pittemans (People's Daily Online) 09:30, February 09, 2024

Today marks the 30th day of the 12th month on the Chinese lunar calendar, also known as "Chuxi," or "Spring Festival's Eve."

On this day, Chinese families come together for a special reunion dinner. In the south, people often eat tangyuan, glutinous rice balls stuffed with a sweet or salty filling that represent hopes for togetherness and a complete New Year. In the north, the tradition is to eat dumplings, symbolizing the start of the New Year and thought to bring good fortune.

According to folklore, dumplings were invented by Zhang Zhongjing, a famous Chinese pharmacologist and physician during the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), to treat frostbitten ears that occurred during the winter at that time.

Nowadays, many people find rolling out the dough for dumplings to be cumbersome, so ready-made dumpling wrappers are available at supermarkets for convenience.

Dumpling preferences vary across different regions of China. In northeast China, Chinese sauerkraut is a key ingredient in dumplings, while Shandong Province is known for its seafood-stuffed dumplings. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region offers a wide variety of meat and vegetable dumpling fillings, and Shaanxi Province is famous for its delicious sour soup dumplings.

Dumplings are not just a tasty dish; they also offer a balanced mix of nutrients with meat, vegetables, and starch. Additionally, the soup in which dumplings are often cooked aids digestion.

For northerners, dumplings are more than just food; they hold special emotional value. Making dumplings is a family affair, where everyone helps by making the filling, rolling the dough, and wrapping the dumplings. Some families put coins or red jujubes inside the dumplings, believing that finding these brings good luck in the New Year.

(Web editor: Zhang Wenjie, Zhong Wenxing)


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