Egret and crab

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Chinese Christmas 藍帽回


Christmas day is soon approaching and for the Sommers family that can only mean one thing, Dim Sum.

Much like the three wise men, we will be soon making our annual pilgrimage to join all of the other hebrews and other friends down at Jasmine on Convoy.

You have to get there really early because it really fills up on Christmas. Like, where else are we supposed to go?

And know that dim sum is a meal that usually goes from about 10 to 2.

Traditionally we go with Ron and Lena and then continue on to the zoo but they have other family plans this year.

If you would like to join us let us know. And don't dress like shlubs.

early Chinese takeout menu

I have written about the Jews and China several times before, the first effort mostly an exercise in abject plagiarism, I confess.

According to some historians, the tribe has existed in China since the Roman diaspora, around the year 25. 
Archaeological evidence suggests that Jews were in China as early as the 8th Century, having arrived from Persia along the Silk Road. In 1163 the Emperor ordered the Jews to live in Kaifeng, where they built the first Chinese synagogue. Marco Polo recorded that Kublai Khan celebrated the festivals of the Muslims, Christians and Jews, indicating that there were a significant number of Jews in China in the 13th Century.

Jews traveled from West Asia over the Silk Road and by sea via India probably in Tang dynasty (618 – 907 CE).   Some scholars think they may have arrived even earlier, during the Later Han dynasty (25 – 220 CE), which would coincide with Roman persecution in Judea.

Jews were certainly established in Kaifeng by 960 CE, which was then called Bianliang, when it served as a capital of the Song dynasty.  China was then a world center of civilization and trade.  
Others place the date of arrival in China a bit later.
There is an oral tradition that the first Jews immigrated to China through Persia following the Roman Emperor Titus's capture of Jerusalem in 70 CE. A large number of Jews emigrated from Persia during the reign of Emperor Ming of Han (58–75 CE).
So roughly two thousand years, give or take a few. Who's counting? That is a lot of eggrolls over the bridge, my friends. We as a tribe have obviously been doing dim sum a lot longer than we have been eating bialys, I will tell you that.

Not a lot has changed but I must tell you, for most of us, the shellfish thing has gone by the wayside. Ditto bacon, which really isn't pork if you come to think of it.
It has been recorded that the Chinese historically called the Jews Tiao jin jiao (挑筋教), loosely, "the religion which removes the sinew,"[25] probably referring to the Jewish dietary prohibition against eating the sciatic nerve (from Genesis 32:32).

Jewish dietary law (kashrut), which forbids the eating of, among other foods, non-ruminant mammals, shellfish and reptiles, would have most likely caused Jewish communities to stand out from the surrounding mainstream Chinese population,as Chinese culture is typically very free in the range of items it deems suitable for food.
In any case, we wish you the best of Christmas holidays, whether you are eating shumai or turkey, lotus wrapped rice, tofu or even a honey baked ham. 

Enjoy your Christmas and don't kvetch!

1 comment:

brigitte said...

I wish I could be there with y'all again!