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10 Fascinating Facts About Chopsticks

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Chopsticks are a key element of many oriental cultures. Learning to use them correctly and efficiently is certainly a skill, and some say an art. These simple pairs of sticks have a long history and an intriguing story, which continues into today’s modern culture. We’ve taken a look at some of the most fascinating facts about chopsticks to share with you today!

  1. It is thought that chopsticks have been around for between 3,000 and 5,000 years. They originated in China, and legend has it that Chinese philosopher Confucius was a key figure in their development. His focus on non-violent teachings led to the abolishment of eating instruments deemed an association of war of violence, such as knives, should not be present at the dinner table.
  2. Each time you use a chopstick, you are engaging around 50 different muscles and joints within your body including the fingers, wrist, arm and shoulders. Using chopsticks to eat could be more of a workout that you might have imagined! Studies have also shown that regular use of chopsticks can help to decrease the risks of osteoarthritis in the hand.
  3. It is estimated that the Chinese alone use around 45 billion disposable chopsticks every year, the Japanese also use around 25 million a year which is around 200 pairs per person per year! This led to the introduction of the People’s Republic of China’s 5% tax on disposable chopsticks in an effort to reduce the wastage of natural resources.
  4. February 6th is National Chopstick Day, who knew that chopsticks were so well-loved that they even had their own national day? There’s a date to pop in your diary!
  5. The increase in popularity of Japanese, Chinese and other oriental dishes has meant that today, around a third of the world uses a chopstick every day, which is nearly as many people as use a traditional knife and fork!
  6. There are people in the world who have a fear of chopsticks (although we’re not quite sure why) and this is called “consecotaleophobia”.
  7. Although traditionally we think of chopsticks as being made from wood or plastic, there are also silver chopsticks. These have a special purpose of testing the toxicity of foods, particularly for the use of the Royal Family in China. If the silver turns black, then the dish is said to contain poison and an attempt at assassination.
  8. Out of all the chopsticks produced in Japan, 80% of them are made in a small city of 32,000 named Obama.
  9. There are four main different types of chopsticks. The Chinese use a longer length of chopstick with a round or blunt end; the Japanese use shorter, pointer wooden alternatives; the Koreans tend to use shorter, blunt sticks made from metals, plastics or wood. Finally, the Vietnamese use longer sticks, commonly made from plastic or wood. The lengths usually range from 18cm-40cm.
  10. Chopsticks unsurprisingly have different names in different languages. For example, in Ancient Chinese, they are known as ‘zhu’, in modern day Chinese, they are known as ‘kuaizi’ and in Japanese, they are named ‘hashi’.

Do you know any other interesting facts about chopsticks? We’d love to hear from you via our social media channels! Why not invest in your own set of chopsticks from our oriental tableware range?

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