Chopsticks were invented in China more than 4000 years ago. China still remains the largest manufacturer of disposable chopsticks.
The most common chopsticks we use are made out of wood. But Chopsticks come in many varieties. Japanese chopsticks for example are shorter and more pointed than Chinese chopsticks. Chopsticks can also be made out of many different materials, like plastic, bamboo, and stainless steel. They are also made of precious materials like gold, titanium and even ivory, which are very popular high-priced gifts. Chinese chopsticks made of wood and plastic are found at all authentic Chinese restaurants in South Kolkata.
Reusable chopsticks are very popular wedding gifts in China. They symbolize happiness and close partnership. Such expensive chopsticks made of precious metals are also gifted to business partners.
Silver chopsticks, however, are not ideal gifts due to their historical significance. In the ancient times, chopsticks made of silver were used to test the presence of toxic elements in food. The Chinese believed poison will turn silver chopsticks black, so it was a common sight on the dinner table of royal families. This myth has been debunked, and though presence of things like rotten eggs, onion, and garlic may change the colour of silver chopsticks, it cannot actually detect poison.
Confucius, a Chinese Philosopher, is credited with having popularized the use of Chopsticks. It was his belief that use of sharp utensils at the dinner table would remind people of warfare and slaughter, thereby ruining the environment which is meant to be happy and loving. He then started preaching the use of chopsticks which gave it immediate popularity. Some top Chinese restaurants follow strict chopstick etiquette.
It is possible to have a phobia of Chopsticks! The Fear of Chopsticks is called Consecotaleophobia. It is a specific phobia, often related to the fear of Chinese people and Chinese culture, called Sinophobia. It usually arises out of certain events in childhood that lead to this excessive fear, much like other phobias. Very few people in the world are recorded to have this specific phobia and it is very uncommon.