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VERTIKAL LIFE Magazine
The Reason Jews Eat Chinese Food On Christmas is Rooted in Solidarity

 

Along with carving the ham and eating gingerbread cookies to our hearts' content, there's another big food tradition that comes on Christmas day.  For over a century, Jewish families in the U.S. have been paying a visit to their favorite Chinese restaurant for a special annual meal.  Today, the occasion has become such a tradition that Chinese restaurants fill up quickly and see business boom for the day. New York City's Shun Lee, for example, has received around 1,300 reservations for the day in the past.

But while people now excitedly anticipate the popular custom, its roots are bittersweet. Though there are several theories as to how this practice began, some experts agree that it's rooted in finding unity amid adversity.

Being the two largest immigrant groups at the turn of the century that weren't Christian, Chinese and Jewish people both understood "what it's like to be outsiders."

Jennifer 8. Lee, a producer of "The Search for General Tso," explained to The Atlantic that being the two largest immigrant groups at the turn of the century that weren't Christian, Chinese and Jewish people both understood "what it's like to be outsiders."

My Life in China: Kitty Wong's Story

Since coming to China almost two years ago, I have made friends with many of the Chinese people and learned a lot about how their culture is different than mine. I have often been struck by how different the Chinese education system is to my own as well. The children go to school in classes of 40 or more. They each have individual desks and rarely interact with their classmates or teachers. They are taught to focus on their own studies and can easily spend hours a day studying by themselves.


When they get older, there is a strong focus on marriage and finding a husband or wife as quickly as possible, so they can start a family. This is almost considered a measure of their life's success. I decided to ask someone firsthand about their experiences in China to gain a clearer understanding. It's very easy to have misconceptions of a place you've never lived before, so I also asked her perceptions of how Western women's experiences differed in similar situations. Please meet Kitty Wong, a 29-year-old Chinese woman from Southern China.

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