Why does Jewish eat Chinese food on Christmas?

In this short article, we will answer the question “Why does Jewish eat Chinese food on Christmas?” and show you why they do not prepare the traditional Christmas celebration.

American Jews have celebrated Christmas with American Chinese cuisine for more than a century. Even in COVID-19 pandemics, the annual party proceeded, as usual, during the period, although in the form of delivery or take-away. 

This hobby has developed into a nearly sacred institution that has been mocked on Saturday Night Live, examined in scholarly publications, and endorsed by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

Why does Jewish eat Chinese food on Christmas?

Because Jews and Chinese Americans were the two largest non-Christian immigrant groups in the United States and they were also frequently shunned because of their differing religious practices from the neighbourhood’s norms.

It soon became clear that the two groups shared more than just being outsiders; particularly in terms of food, Jewish and Chinese cultures are comparable.

The Lower East Side is where it all began at the turn of the century. Chinatown and the borough of Manhattan are adjacent, and in the early 20th century, this central neighbourhood of New York City was teeming with Italians, Eastern European Jews, and Chinese people. 

Jews have seen tolerance and acceptance in Chinese restaurants, in large part because Cantonese cuisine, which rarely uses dairy, incorporates elements of the kosher diet (Meat and milk cannot be combined according to Jewish law).

Except for the sporadic serving of (non-kosher) pork and shellfish trayf, Chinese food provided a welcome and legal diversion from Jewish eating.

Along with the shared love of cuisine, Jewish and Chinese immigrants discovered that they were even more united because neither group observed Christmas; this bond still endures today. 

On Sundays and Christian holidays, Chinese restaurants in New York typically stay open, serving as a destination for hungry, roaming Jews who couldn’t eat at the city’s closed restaurants. For American Jews, this has been particularly true on Christmas Day, when practically all businesses are closed. 

Chinese and Jewish communities in America are now more connected than ever thanks to meat-and-chives dumplings; What would become known as Jewish Christmas was developed primarily for sociological and religious reasons.

Over the years, the culinary sensation has expanded significantly, moving beyond just being a chance to scoop spaghetti with chopsticks to become a national institution. 

The Jewish Christmas has evolved into a representation of Jewish life in America and reflects the broad Jewish affection for Chinese food. It demonstrates how immigration can result in the creation of novel traditions, customs, and rituals that are adapted to a contemporary and ever-evolving culture. 

This demonstrates that despite any external distinctions, there will always be a fusion of culture and cuisine. Additionally, eating chive pancakes on Christmas Day serves as a yearly reminder that Jews frequently identify more with American Jews.

Why don’t the Jewish people celebrate Christmas?

Considering that Jews consider Jesus to be a prophet rather than the Messiah, the Savior. Christmas consequently ends up being missed. 

But they also celebrate Hanukkah, which is a Hebrew word for dedication or inauguration. The festival starts after sundown on the 24th day of the Jewish month and lasts for eight days.

The celebration, sometimes referred to as the festival of lights, commemorates the Jewish people’s victory over a Greek province that attempted to outlaw their faith 2,200 years ago. It was viewed as a miracle that the Maccabees were able to win the fight with such a little army.

Jews participate in a game of chance known as the dreidel during Hanukkah (a four-sided top with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet on each). Instead of the elaborate Christmas meal, a modest menu with latkes and doughnuts with jam is served (sufganiyot).

Muslims are yet another religion that does not observe Christmas. Jesus is regarded by his adherents as one of the five main prophets of Islam, although he is not regarded as the Messiah, like God.

Why don’t the Chinese celebrate Christmas?

Because China’s history and traditions are very different from those of Christianity. The principles of Master Confucius are recognized by the Chinese as a “religion,” in addition to Buddhism and Taoism. 

Without the Christian faith, the majority of China celebrates Christmas as a holiday rather than the birth of Jesus.

Conclusion:

In this short article, we have answered the question “Why does Jewish eat Chinese food on Christmas?” and have shown you why they do not prepare the traditional Christmas celebration.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish-American_patronage_of_Chinese_restaurants#:~:text=The%20American%20Jewish%20habit%20of,open%20restaurants%20on%20Christmas%20Day.

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/12/21/18151903/history-jews-chinese-food-christmas-kosher-american

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