The Chinese Qilin Club hosted a dumpling making event on Nov. 12 for the Pacific community.
The event had about 15 attendees including both students and some faculty at Pacific. Chinese Club advisor and Chinese Language Instructor Carol Gwo facilitated the dumpling, or in Chinese jiǎozi (饺子), making for the participants. The club provided the ingredients in a COVID safe manner by proportioning the ingredients at each station. Professor Gwo then led the group with a powerpoint and demonstration of how to mix the ingredients and fold the dumplings.
Dumpling making is a tradition among Chinese families to make during the holidays, especially around Chinese New Year. Professor Gwo grew up in Taiwan with her family and learned how to make dumplings at a very young age.
“[During holidays], especially New Year’s Eve when the family returns home, the parents use making dumplings as an opportunity to welcome the children who travel back home for the holidays,” said Professor Gwo.
However, the dumplings themselves symbolize wealth and prosperity, as they closely resemble China’s early currency. In the old days, China did not have coins or bills, instead they had silver or gold nuggets called yuánbǎo (元宝). The yuánbǎo (元宝) was made by melting down and pouring the silver and gold into a mold. This shape of the mold has a similar look to dumplings, thus eating the dumpling symbolizes eating gold nuggets which families believe will bring lots of money and prosperity.
Joseph Taiyo “JT” Duncan, a Pacific senior, attended the event after being invited by a friend, where he was nervous at first, as he didn’t want to mess anything up. However, once he started, he had fun making them with other people.
“A lot of cooking has to do with self confidence, trying new things, and being comfortable with doing a terrible job,” said Duncan.
Hunter Slatten, the Chinese Qilin Club President, said the event ran according to plan and while the Chinese Club currently does not have any more cooking events planned yet, there are other events to watch out for.
“Next semester we are planning to continue our Chinese wellness series as well as attend the Chinese Garden in Portland, and [host] Lunar New Year of course,” said Slatten.
Bringing in a variety of cultures to Pacific is important so students can learn about the different perspectives of the world and educate themselves about the traditions their peers celebrate.
“The purpose of doing these activities is not only to exchange Chinese culture for fun, but every activity has a story and meaningful purpose behind them,” said Professor Gwo. “By doing [these activities], you also learn about the different cultures and learn to respect them.” — Allison Wills