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Festival Food Stories

http://www.chinese.cn 15:17, January 19, 2011 CRI

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There are many legends about dumplings. Some stories even date back to the beginning of history.

In Three-Kingdom time(220 - 265A.D.), a book was written by Zhang Ji. In this book, a food shaped like a crescent was introduced as "Hundun".

During Southern and Northern Dynasties (420- 589A.D.), Jiaozi became a popular food at the center China.

From a Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) tomb excavated 1968 in Xinjiang, a wooden bowl was unearthed containing a number of dumplings which look exactly the same as what we call Jiaozi. This testifies that dumplings had been introduced to the northwestern region of ethnic minorities by the Tang Dynasty, at the latest.



Round Yuanxiao means reunion in China. The time people began eating Yuanxiao varied in different regions.

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), King Chu Zhaowang (515 – 489BC) lost his country and walked sadly along the Yangtse River when he noticed something floating on the surface. It was white and red, with sweet paste inside. He wondered what it was and asked Confucius. Confucius told him it is time to retrieve his country. That day was January 15th, thus the custom of eating Yuanxiao was born.

Legend also has it that Yuanxiao got its name from the Han emperor Wu Di's made of honor ( 141-87 B.C) because she was good at cooking sweet round balls. Therefore, the balls were named in honor of Yuanxiao.

But the two stories above have no historic record or evidence.

Yuanxiao, made its debut in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420 A.D.) according to historical records and became popular during the Tang and Song periods (7th to 13th century), but not under its present name. The Notes of the Year in Hubei, a book by a 10th century scholar, mentioned "bean-paste-filled cakes" which were made on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month.


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