We need to see the history of dumplings to find out the answer. Back to hundred years ago, dumplings are more like delicacy rather than a nice food to appease people’s hunger. When China was an economically backward country, people always eat cheap roughage such as corn, millet or rice as main meal. Smith describes rice is “a basic component of routine domestic and ritual activity. ” (Smith, 2006) Dumplings were not the same thing. They were only appeared in Spring Festival as a decent food to highlight the day.
Therefore, food like dumplings was also represented a happy and wealthy life that people wanted and pursued. Because of this reason, dumplings could have an outstanding impact in people’s everyday life. Although in nowadays dumplings is not a luxury food any more, people are still enjoy having dumplings whenever traditional festivals. The thousand years custom have formed to a culture appearance, carry down from generation to generation. No doubt, dumplings bring Chinese people infinite hope and happy, from past till now and possibly in the future.
Dumplings gradually transferred from a general food to an influential mascot. This is because the dumplings are provided a satisfaction for people’s psychological need. In another words, Chinese people gave the auspicious meaning to dumplings in the process that people tried to create a health and good life. In the variable kinds of Chinese traditional food, dumplings are not the most “coroneted” one, but people only chose dumplings as a mascot. According to Lee, “a group’s customs and rules about appropriate social behavior can reflect important cultural values. (Lee, 2009) Except dumplings are very delicious, I think its unique looking is more correspond with Chinese national characteristics. Dumplings are a classic farcie food, contrast with burgers or pizzas, which all the material is clear at a glance. No matter what the stuffing of a dumpling is, people cannot know just by looking at it. The hidden character of dumplings just corresponds with Chinese diffidence personality. Therefore, the decision was made by Chinese people according to their own appreciation standards, which meet their psychological needs.
There are many different customs about dumplings in different regions of China. My grandparents are living at a country side in the north of China. They have a custom that bride needs eat dumplings in the wedding day. When I was very little, the bride was carried by a sedan to bridegroom’s house on the wedding day. Before that day, the mother of the bride would prepare 40 dumplings and hide them under the sedan seat. When the bride arrived on the husband’s home, the relatives would boil the hided dumplings for the bridal and the groom.
The entire process means the new couples will happy and together forever. Lenkeit says that “culture is constantly changing…It changes internally through innovations and inventions-new ideas and combinations of old ideas to create new things. ” (Lenkeit, 2009) This point explains the change of this custom. Since woman do not use sedan any more, a new “rule” replaced the old custom applied in weddings. In recent years, the mother of the bride will make some really spicy dumplings and ask groom to eat.
She uses the “terrible” dumplings to show that it is not easy to get her daughter. In addition to those customs of dumplings in my hometown, dumplings also have impacts in my recent life. This is the second year since I came to US. I spend Spring Festival with my friends last year. We made a great dinner and many dumplings together to celebrate the most important holiday of the year. Like the customer for Christmas that people usually buy gift for their family members, the heart of Spring Festival is making and eating dumplings.
Carrier indicates that the gift creates problems “because the objects people confront in such societies overwhelmingly are impersonal commodities. And because these objects are impersonal, they do not make good gifts. ” (Carrier, 1993) For this point, dumplings would never cause problems. Although people could easily buy dumplings from supermarket, making dumplings is also an important part in Spring Festival. The process of making dumpling is more complex than making other food, but the process allows people stay together and communicate. In conclusion, dumplings are indispensable in Chinese traditional activities.