Why eating Chinese food on Christmas is an American Jewish tradition

For Chinese restaurants Christmas is their Superbowl Sunday. But how did Chinese food become a staple of the holidays for some?

Why eating Chinese food on Christmas is an American Jewish tradition

Chinese food on Christmas day has become a popular tradition among the American Jewish community. When everything else shuts down, call the local Chinese place to get some dinner. But do these restaurants really see that much traffic from customers on Christmas day?

Roberto A. Ferdman of the Washington Post investigated Google's search trends for Chinese food throughout the year. There's a considerable spike around December 25th for queries relating to “Chinese food" that date back to 2004 (when Google's trend data first became available).

Ferdman also notes that GrubHub reported a significant spike in past sales for Chinese restaurants on Christmas day, making it something of a Superbowl Sunday for the cuisine. Ed Schoenfeld, owner of RedFarm, confirmed this phenomena when he spoke to Adam Chandler of The Atlantic:

“Clearly this whole thing with Chinese food and Jewish people has evolved. There's no question. Christmas was always a good day for Chinese restaurants, but in recent years, it's become the ultimate day of business."

As to why the tradition has become so heavily associated with the Jewish community, it may have started as the only dining option available, but has evolved into a Jewish American tradition.

Chandler reveals a far-deeper bond between the Chinese and Jewish communities that goes back to the years between 1899 and 1911 when the latter's population spiked in New York City from immigration. Their relationship starts with their similarities as the non-Christian others in America during that time, and continued with Chinese restaurants as one of the few places where Jews could get semi-Kosher food. Where Mexican, Italian, and American restaurants mix an overwhelming amount of dairy and meat together, Chinese restaurants offered an acceptable foreign alternative.

Schoenfeld said to Chandler:

Chinese restaurants were the easiest place to trick yourself into thinking you were eating Kosher food.

It's a symbiotic relationship that has gown over the years into an unique American tradition for these cultures, bringing people together in ways we never thought.

Read more at The Washington Post and The Atlantic

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Were the ancient Egyptians black or white? Scientists now know

This is the first successful DNA sequencing on ancient Egyptian mummies, ever.


Ancient Egyptian Statues

Getty Images
Surprising Science

Egyptologists, writers, scholars, and others, have argued the race of the ancient Egyptians since at least the 1970's. Some today believe they were Sub-Saharan Africans. We can see this interpretation portrayed in Michael Jackson's 1991 music video for “Remember the Time" from his "Dangerous" album. The video, a 10-minute mini-film, includes performances by Eddie Murphy and Magic Johnson.

Keep reading Show less

Why professional soccer players choke during penalty kicks

A new study used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure brain activity as inexperienced and experienced soccer players took penalty kicks.

PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 09: Diego Valeri #8 of Portland Timbers reacts after missing a penalty kick in the second half against the Seattle Sounders at Providence Park on May 09, 2021 in Portland, Oregon.

Abbie Parr via Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • The new study is the first to use in-the-field imaging technology to measure brain activity as people delivered penalty kicks.
  • Participants were asked to kick a total of 15 penalty shots under three different scenarios, each designed to be increasingly stressful.
  • Kickers who missed shots showed higher activity in brain areas that were irrelevant to kicking a soccer ball, suggesting they were overthinking.
Keep reading Show less

Changing a brain to save a life: how far should rehabilitation go?

What's the difference between brainwashing and rehabilitation?

Credit: Roy Rochlin via Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • The book and movie, A Clockwork Orange, powerfully asks us to consider the murky lines between rehabilitation, brainwashing, and dehumanization.
  • There are a variety of ways, from hormonal treatment to surgical lobotomies, to force a person to be more law abiding, calm, or moral.
  • Is a world with less free will but also with less suffering one in which we would want to live?
Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

How to fool a shark using magnets

A simple trick allowed marine biologists to prove a long-held suspicion.