The Chinese have an old saying: "Nothing can be more delicious than Jiaozi, as nothing can be more comfortable than lying down to sleep." They eat dumplings (Jiaozi) on weekdays and holidays, as staple food and as a festive dish. You can eat Chinese dumplings all year round, but the best occasion to eat the greatest variety of them is heading to some most significant festivals such as Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Double Ninth Festival, and Winter Solstice Day (Dongzhi Festival).
For people in northern China, making and eating dumplings with their family is an important ritual on the Chinese New Year's Eve. On this day, the transition from the old to the new year happens. As the moment of replacement, which is called 交子 (jiāo zǐ), is essential for the Chinese, people eat the food with a similar name which is 饺子 (jiǎo zi) to both celebrate the new year and pray for good luck. Also, the process of making dumplings gathers the whole family, which demonstrates one of the traditional Chinese values–reunion.
The Chinese are very fond of their national dish, so they even arrange dumpling banquets during which only dumplings of different kinds are served. Each region of the Celestial Empire has its varieties of this dish and unique features of their preparation. Recipes of Chinese dumplings are very different in all parts of the country and even have different names. Dumplings can be fried, steamed, and boiled. The filling options vary from vegetables and mushrooms to meat, usually pork. One essential addition to the meat filling is celery and seasonings, such as green onions, ginger, table salt, five-spice powder, and naturally, soy sauce. Serving stewed asparagus sprinkled with sesame seeds as a side dish to Chinese dumplings is another national speciality.
If you are lucky to know a Chinese family and get invited for dinner, you should definitely try their home-made dumplings. If not, there are plenty of restaurants in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Macau, and Hong Kong where you can order them from a menu. One of the best option would be joining a food tour to learn more about culinary secrets of China and the history behind traditional Chinese dishes.