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National Chopsticks Day appears as a fun and fascinating reason to show appreciation for this little pair of utensils. So put down that fork, set aside that knife, and pick up these two little sticks that can usher in a whole new experience! 

History of National Chopsticks Day

Getting their start at least 3000 years ago or more, chopsticks originated in China and were first used as utensils in the process of cooking. With ancient roots, these convenient tools began to be used as a tool for individuals to eat noodles, rice, meat, vegetables and much more, probably around 400 BC. This was likely a time when resources became scarce and the food needed to be chopped into small bits to cook faster and save on fuel.

In the end, there was a need for some sort of tool to help with eating, and it was obviously a much-needed innovation because the tool began to spread. Chopsticks made their way from China into other Asian countries, like Korea, Japan, Vietnam and many others.

Originally made from bamboo, chopsticks have since been made from all sorts of traditional substances, including different types of wood, metal, ivory and ceramics. Of course, more recently, chopsticks have been made from plastics, resin, stainless steel and even titanium. In addition, chopsticks have been valued and appreciated for their beauty, particularly when they have been decorated with precious substances or painted with unique artwork.

By 1878, the disposable bamboo chopstick was designed by the Japanese, called “waribashi”. Many people don’t realize that the average person in China has typically used up to 200 sets of disposable chopsticks every year.

To minimize the use of disposable chopsticks and save the earth along the way, the Chinese government imposed a tax on chopsticks in April 2006. The tax of 5% was not only for those in China, but also spread from there into the places where the China chopstick makers export to, such as Japan or Korea.

Now, National Chopsticks Day is here to pay honor and respect to the longstanding, ancient tradition of using chopsticks as a cooking and eating utensil!

National Chopsticks Day Timeline

1700-1200 BC

Chinese people begin using chopsticks

Originally used in the cooking process, chopsticks function more like tongs in these early days. [1]

400 AD

Other utensils are invented

Forks, spoons and knives begin common use as eating utensils. [2]

500 AD

Chopsticks make their way to Japan

Making a stop in Korea first, chopsticks travel from China to Kyoto at the east end of the Silk Road.[3]

1878

Disposable chopsticks gain use

In Japan, disposable bamboo chopsticks are created.

2006

China imposes a chopstick tax

To reduce wasting natural resources, China institutes a 5% tax on disposable chopsticks, which also had an impact on chopsticks exported to Japan. [4]

How to Celebrate National Chopsticks Day

Take eating to the next level by enjoying National Chopsticks Day! Get excited about celebrating the day by implementing some of these special ideas:

Learn More About Using Chopsticks

While many Westerners are more used to using a fork and knife, one delightful activity for National Chopsticks Day might be to learn how to use chopsticks. For many people, it can require a bit of practice while the motor memory is retained.

Not only is learning how to use chopsticks an important cultural activity, it also could have other benefits. These benefits can include improving hand-eye coordination, teaching finger isolation and manipulation, strengthening the hand muscles, and improving fine motor skills. Some people even believe that using chopsticks can make the memory even better!

While considering chopsticks, consider some of this etiquette around the utensils: 

  • In Japan, it is rude to cross the chopsticks on the table or to stick the chopsticks vertically in a pile of rice.

  • In Taiwan, it’s poor etiquette to let chopsticks linger in the mouth or to bite on them.

  • The Chinese consider it to be poor form to spear the food with chopsticks or to tap the chopsticks on the bowl.

  • In Korea, it is rude to pick up chopsticks or other utensils before the elders at the table do.

Eat with Chopsticks

While chopsticks could certainly be tried with almost any kind of food (though perhaps a burger or a slice of pizza might be complicated), they are best when used to eat food that hails from Asia. Delicious food that is Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese can all be appreciated when eaten with chopsticks.

Enjoy Some Fun Facts About Chopsticks

In honor and celebration of National Chopsticks Day, this is the time to increase that knowledge about these interesting little sticks. After learning some facts, go ahead and share some of them with friends or family members to raise awareness in honor of the day! Try out some of these fun facts and bits of trivia to get started:

  • Chopsticks are different in different countries. For instance, the chopsticks found in China are longer than those in other Asian countries, with wide tapered ends that make them slightly easier to use. Chopsticks in Korea have more of a flat shape, and those from Vietnam have an end that is more blunt.

  • Some people actually have an irrational fear of chopsticks! The name of this disorder is Consecotaleophobia and has been included in the field of psychiatry.

  • In the past, silver chopsticks were used by royal families in China to check for poison. Because certain poisons would cause the silver chopsticks to turn black, giving a forewarning of danger. Since then, silver chopsticks have been a sign of wealth, affluence and style.

  • Chopsticks have superstitions associated with them. As an intricate part of the Asian culture, some omens go along with the use of chopsticks. For instance, holding chopsticks completely upright is a bad omen. Also, dropping chopsticks is a sign of bad luck.

Purchase Some Fancy Chopsticks

One lovely way to celebrate National Chopsticks Day might be to make an investment in a new set (or several) of higher end chopsticks. Chopsticks can be made out of bamboo or other woods and then decorated in a variety of ways.

For instance, try out a set that is made from rosewood and then decorated with gold tips. Try some pairs made with lacquer that can then be personalized with the names of everyone in the family. Or, those who are very serious about celebrating the day might be interested in pure, solid silver chopsticks that are handcrafted and decorated with Chinese calligraphy. 

National Chopsticks Day FAQs

How do you use chopsticks?

Hold the chopsticks loosely at a slight angle from each other. The chopstick held by the thumb can stay stable while the other one is moved back and forth with the fingers.[1]

What country did chopsticks come from?

Chopsticks likely originated in China around 1200 BC or even earlier. [2]

Did chopsticks come before forks?

Yes. Forks and spoons were not invented until 400 AD. [3]

Do chopsticks make you eat less?

People who eat with chopsticks may eat more slowly, which causes them to get fuller faster and eat less food. [4]

Are chopsticks reusable?

Most quality chopsticks are made to be used, washed and used again for years, though some chopsticks are made of bamboo and are considered to be ‘disposable’.

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