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The Laba Rice Porridge Festival

The Laba Rice Porridge Festival is celebrated on the eighth day of the last lunar month,referring to the traditional start of celebrations for the Chinese New Year.

On the day, people will make a pot of tasty porridge with mixed grains and corns, like peanut, chestnut, date and lotus seed, which is an indispensable staple food for the Spring Festival.In the north, it is a dessert with sugar added; in the south, salt is put in.

There are two legendary origin about the Festival, One holds that over 3,000 years ago sacrificial rites called “La”were held in the twelfth lunar month when people offered their preys to the gods of heaven and earth. The Chinese characters for prey and the twelfth month were interchangeable then,and ever since “La”has been used to refer to both.

There is, however, another touching story:When Sakyamuni was on his way to the high mountains in his quest for understanding and enlightenment, he grew tired and hungry. Exhausted from days of walking,he fainted away by a river in India. A shepherdess found him there and fed him her lunch --porridge made with beans and rice.Sakyamuni was thus able to continue his journey.Then large Buddhist temples would offer Laba rice porridge to the poor to show their faith to Buddha.

Later,as it gained favor in the feudal upper class,it also quickly became popular throughout the country.

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