In China and Japan noodles are traditionally associated with long life and served at birthdays and for the New Year. I have often wondered how this analogy came about, because if you have ever witnessed some hungry Chinese sitting down with their bowls of noodles, their chopsticks ready to go, you would know that these noodles will disappear at breakneck speed into the mouths of the diners. Their life will be short indeed. For these noodles, rather than long life a more fitting analogy seem to be the words of the Apostle James who said that our life appears on the scene for a little while and then vanishes.
Or maybe the comparison of life to noodles is illustrated in the way we start eating noodles on one end and eat our way along a curved and twisted noodle path to the other end, sort of from birth to death. To make sure this pleasure of slurping noodles from one end to the other is uninterrupted you should never cut or break up noodles when with your Asian friends. It is considered bad luck. Whatever the deeper symbolism of the short existence of delicious noodle dishes, one things is certain, there is an endless variety of noodles in all shapes, forms and sizes, let alone in the way they can be prepared. Here are just a few examples.