Fun Facts About 5,000 Year Old Chopsticks

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Everything Chopsticks presents new facts about chopsticks. Includes facts about history, current issues, interesting tidbits, and more.

Almost one third of the world uses chopsticks every day, about as many as use a knife and fork. Chopsticks were developed about 5,000 years ago in ancient China. Their use spread to other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam between 250-550 AD.

Each year about 60-80 billion disposable chopsticks are used every year consuming the equivalent of 20 million trees. China is encouraging its citizens to switch to using non-disposable chopsticks and silverware to stem deforestation.

In early Chinese dynasties emperors used silver chopsticks thinking they would turn dark if they came into contact with poison. Silver chopsticks were highly prized and if a commoner was caught using them they would be imprisoned or sometimes executed.

Chopsticks hold an important place in Japanese Buddhist funerals. A pair of chopsticks stuck upright in a bowl of rice and placed on the alter is an offering to the spirit of a deceased relative. Virtually all bodies are cremated and family members participate using chopsticks to retrieve remaining bones transferring them to an urn. They do this in pairs, two people retrieving a bone piece together. Because of this it is taboo for two people to grab the same piece of food at the dinner table.

Chopsticks have been made from a variety of materials including wood, bamboo, bone, ivory, silver, bronze, horn and ceramic. Today chopsticks are also made of glass, carbon fiber and titanium.

Each country or region has their own style of chopsticks. Chinese chopsticks are very long and typically square in the handle and round in the tip. Japanese chopsticks are shorter and taper gracefully from handle to tip. Korean chopsticks are stainless steel and flat like the handle of a spoon.

80 percent of chopsticks made in Japan are made in the little city of Obama, named like President Obama, population about 32,000. There craftsman continue the centuries old traditions of Wakasa lacquered chopsticks.

Modern surgical techniques are increasingly using tools inspired by chopsticks to perform less invasive surgery. Chopsticks are successfully used by pickpockets to steal wallets and mobile phones. Used disposable chopsticks are being repurposed into furniture, baskets and one man has even made a canoe.

And finally, the fear of chopsticks is called 'Consecotaleophobia.'

For those seeking more fun and fascinating stories and facts there is a website devoted to chopsticks news and information at Chopsticks University on Everythingchopsticks.com.

About Everything Chopsticks
Everything Chopsticks (http://EverythingChopsticks.com) has been a leading provider of chopsticks since 2005, specializing in quality chopsticks from Asian cultures around the world.

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