Dumplings are thought to have originated in the Eastern Han Dynasty over 1,800 years ago. According to legend, a man named Zhang Zhongjing recognized that the ears of many people were frostbitten during the winter. He developed the first dumplings, which were filled with mutton, chili and herbs.
Zhang stuffed dough skins with this filling and folded them over to look like a ear, and boiled them until cooked through. The first dumplings were filled with warming herbs that promoted blood circulation to help people make it through the harsh winters without further frostbite. The dumplings were traditionally distributed from Winter Solstice through the New Year.