Laba Porridge Marks Prelude to Chinese New Year2016-01-18 10:00:33Share:
Locals line up for Laba porridge at the Yonghe Lama Temple in Beijing, Jan 17, 2016. [Photo/China Daily]
The traditional Laba Festival, when Chinese people eat Laba porridge and garlic to celebrate the event which is regarded as the prelude to the coming Chinese Luna New Year, fell on Sunday.
The festival is celebrated on the eighth day of the 12th month of the traditional Chinese calendar, originally a day of thanks for a good harvest and sacrifice to ancestors. It also marks the day on which Sakyauni, the founder of Buddhism, reached enlightenment and became immortal.
An old Chinese saying goes: "After Laba, it's time to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year," meaning the festival marks the start of a series of celebrations for the important Spring Festival.
A child enjoys a spoonful of Laba porridge at Beijing's Yonghe Lama Temple, Jan 17, 2016. The festival was originally a day of thanks for a good harvest and sacrifice to ancestors. [Photo/China Daily]
Laba porridge, made with rice, nuts, cereal and dried fruit, is the traditional dish for the festival. Many temples across the country provided free porridge to the public on Sunday.
Among them, the Yonghegong Lama Temple, in Beijing, shared porridge with hundreds of residents since early morning.
Apart from eating laba congee, people in northern China also make a special snack to serve during Spring Festival, Laba garlic.
Laba Garlic. [Photo/China Daily]
The vinegar-preserved, pickled snack is prevalent in northern China. It often appears to be jade green in color and the garlic tastes sour and slightly spicy. The garlic is usually served with dumplings especially during Spring Festival.
The folk tale about Sakyauni records that he had spent six years practicing Buddhist doctrine in a forest alongside a river, without eating anything.
As his starvation had reached its bodily limit, a shepherdess wandered by and shared some porridge with him.
After regaining his strength, he achieved enlightenment at the age of 35, hence the tradition of making the special porridge to honor the god, which spread across China.
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