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All About National Fortune Cookie Day

Updated on March 7, 2014

The Big Day - July 20

Bet you didn’t know that there’s a day dedicated to fortune cookies? That’s right, National Fortune Cookie Day is July 20th. On this day, America celebrates the golden goodness of the fortune cookie. If you haven’t yet jumped on the cookie-day bandwagon, you still have time to honor this unique little edible fortune teller by creating a National Fortune Cookie Day festivity of your own.

Cookies: Mass Producted

Who Invented the Fortune Cookie?

Most people think of these fortune cookies as a Chinese invention. In fact, it is an American one. The fortune cookie did not exist in China at all. It is thought that Chinese-Americans in San Francisco invented the tasty treat as a dessert for American customers who were used to a sweet at the end of their restaurant meals. Since the Chinese don’t usually eat sweets at the end of a meal, the cookie was invented as a way to please diners.

Another story tells of Japanese ingenuity that brought the fortune cookie to life. Again, San Francisco is the location where the cookie is said to have been designed. But this time it was said to be by a Japanese designer of the Tea Gardens at Golden Gate Park. When he was fired due to anti-Japanese politics, the cookie was eaten by his fellow San Franciscans in great quantities to show support.

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Why Fortune Cookies?

It doesn’t really matter how the fortune cookie came to be. All that matters is that people love the excitement of having their fortune told at the end of a Chinese meal. The fortunes can be funny, witty or confusing, but everyone enjoys reading them.

Lottery numbers or Chinese vocabulary can summon up hilarity and are the topics of many an after-dinner conversation.


How to Celebrate

What can you do on National Fortune Cookie Day? Create a party of your own. Invite friends over for a large fortune cookie making party. If you’re not that good in the kitchen, make them out of paper circles. A few simple folds and you’ve got yourself a cute take-home reminder of a fun day.

Create fortunes for each other and then insert them into your cookies. Dress up your table with silk or a Chinese-based printed fabric. Wear a mandarin collared jacket or shirt. Set up tea lights and brew some tea. Hang paper lanterns. Order Chinese food to be delivered and then sit on the floor and enjoy your little party in honor of the humble fortune cookie.

Make Your Own Fortune Cookies


Cookie Variations

Many variations of the classic fortune cookie have hit the market. There are now chocolate, orange, and even spicy flavors. Upscale restaurants are making their own versions of the crispy cookie. You can find chocolate dipped fortune cookie and sprinkles, coconut, and peanuts. Many a couple has gotten engaged when a cookie bearing a marriage proposal was presented after dinner. It’s amazing the kinds of messages you can place inside a simple little cookie.


Have Fun & Enjoy

A holiday as lighthearted as National Fortune Cookie day should make everyone smile. Any day dedicated to a cookie can’t be bad. Why not design a July 20th celebration in honor of the fortune cookie and make it a regular summer fete?

You’ll have the most unique reason to celebrate on the block. Don’t be surprised if your house becomes the most popular one come fortune cookie day.


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    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I learned something here! I had never heard of this holiday or that the fortune cookie was an American creation. It figures. We've gotta have our desserts, huh? :-) I don't usually eat much of my fortune cookies, but I always like opening and reading them! Neat hub! voted up and others!

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      A great history, great stories & great pictures. All round AMAZING PIECE. Wonderful!

    • profile image

      leann2800 6 years ago

      omg! I love fortune cookies! I didn't know that there was a day to celebrate them. I am game!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Lovely hub. I will have to try some of those fortune cookie variations some day. :)

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

      Oh love the variations here. Mmmmmm. I'm a big fan and at this newly renovated Chinese restaurant you can pick up a cookie or two (no charge). So good with tea. And I got this recent fortune saying I will have a prosperous old age. Well, that old age is rapidly bearing down on me and I'm just going to go ahead and believe that fortune cookie.

      Thanks for the Fortune Cookie Day info - I am marking it on my calender right now and I will celebrate with a friend.

      Yay! And rated up!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love your fortune cookie variations. They are great for a party favor.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Surprised to know that these fortune cookies are originally from American Chinese. Your explanation does make it clear.

      And I have never seen so many variation of fortune cookies before. They are so beautiful !

      Great hub ! You have my vote !

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 6 years ago

      What a fun holiday and I LOVE fortune cookies. The giant ones make great gifts for Valentine's Day because you can put in your own fortune cookie saying.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      I'd never heard of National Fortune cookie day. I learned something new. I don't like fortune cookies myself, but I know many people do.