Sticks are an indispensable table attribute of an oriental meal. Eating with chopsticks is an art and has its own history and rules. Sticks perform not only an aesthetic function, but also a hygienic one, their use involves certain muscles of the palm associated with the digestive organs.
Chopsticks are the traditional way of eating food in East Asia. This cutlery is mainly used in Japan, China, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. For the manufacture of sticks, traditional materials are used: wood, ivory, metal, plastic. It is known that the imperial court in ancient China used silver sticks to detect the possible presence of poison in food, namely arsenic. The tradition of eating with chopsticks originated in China about 3 thousand years ago. There is a legend that this method was invented by a resourceful emperor named Yu the Great, who thus got meat from a hot cauldron. Various materials were common in China, the poor ate cheap, poor quality wooden sticks that could splinter. From here, the tradition arose when splitting sticks to rub them together. From China, sticks came to Japan, where they began to be made of bamboo, and these were not two separate sticks, but a kind of forceps, later they were divided. Only representatives of the aristocracy ate with chopsticks, ordinary people ate with their hands. Metal sticks are used only in Korea, mainly, they are made of stainless steel. According to the inhabitants of the East, eating with chopsticks is not only convenient, but also useful for the body. First, the muscles and glands of the palm, which are connected by nerve endings with the digestive organs, work. Their constant training helps to speed up the process of digestion and improve the health of the body. Secondly, the technique of eating with chopsticks develops fine motor skills, so it is taught from infancy. The Japanese believe that children who started eating with this device as early as possible are ahead of their peers using traditional European devices in mental and physical development. Like everything in the life of an Eastern person, sticks have a sacred meaning, this is a kind of symbol. For example, there is a tradition to give a couple of sticks to the newlyweds. This gift symbolizes their inseparability and spiritual closeness. There is also the First Sticks ritual, which is held on the 100th anniversary of the birth of a child. A special ceremony is held with the participation of relatives, in which the baby is given to taste rice with the help of chopsticks. With the help of chopsticks they eat not only solid food, but even soups and noodles, especially common in Thailand. There is a special etiquette of using chopsticks, observing which, you can not only correctly hold the device, but also express certain intentions or thoughts. For example, it is considered bad form to bang with chopsticks on the table, "draw" on the table or on a plate, sort out pieces of food in search of the best, prick food on sticks, lick them. The biggest insult is sticking sticks into food, as Eastern peoples associate this with a commemoration because of the comparison with sticks of incense, which are placed after the death of relatives. In addition, you should not pinch the chopsticks in your fist, as this gesture is aggressive and can be interpreted as a threat. Chopsticks constantly find adherents in other regions of the planet. Thus, there is an opportunity not only to join the oriental culture and taste exotic food, but also to be imbued with true oriental patience and tranquility. Indeed, in order to learn how to properly hold the device, an unusual European needs to spend a lot of effort.