Jiaozi Fest 2019

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Over 600 people joined together at the third annual United Chinese American Illinois Chapter charitable Jiaozi Fest for early celebrations of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

“It’s really a culture event, culture fair. The purpose of Jiaozi Fest is that we want to share with the whole community about the Chinese culture,” said Jiaozi Fest Event Manager Hongbo Wang.

Twenty-nine stations filled three different rooms at Pacifica Square in Aurora for hands-on traditional activities, like puzzles, paper folding, and of course jiaozi making.

So what is jiaozi? It’s a dumpling, and one of the most popular dishes in Chinese culture, especially during this time of year.

To make one, you simply roll out the dough, add a spoonful of ground meat or veggies to the center, fold and pinch the edges, then boil or fry to finish.

Families traditionally eat the dumplings between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. on the eve of the New Year.

“People will eat Jiaozi during this period of time because this is the time you say goodbye to the last year and then you welcome the New Year,” said Wang.

It’s all a tasty way to bring communities together.

“What we want is to share with people that Chinese Americans, we are just like Americans. We share the same value of giving back, we share the same value of family, obviously. And that we are a lot more similar than different,” said Lily Chen, president of the UCA IL Chapter.

Naperville News 17’s Antonia Acuna reports.