David：I understand that in Chinese culture people normally eat rice or, as an alternative, dumplings at the end of a meal.
You：We usually eat rice, but we don’t usually eat dumplings every day.
David：Sometimes I have had meals with Chinese friends and at the end of the meal, they choose whether to eat rice or dumplings. Why?
You：Well, maybe this is true in restaurants when people eat starch to fill up at the end of a meal. But eating at home is different. At home, dumplingsaren’t intended for every day consumption. If you eat rice at every meal, although it’s convenient, it can get boring. It’s a Chinese custom, especially in the north, to eat dumplings the night before Spring Festival.
David：Why? What’s the history?
You：There is a story but I don’t know it. I am from south China and we don’t share that custom.
David：It’s not a part of the custom in southern China. It is only a custom in Beijing?
You：Not only Beijing, but all northern China.
David：Someone told me before that, because the dumpling is round, it symbolizes the beginning of a new cycle. I am not sure, but sometimes I understand they put a coin inside when they make dumplings, whoever eats the dumpling with the coin will have good luck. Maybe this is more northeastern culture.
You：Yeah, Ithink so.