- Gordon Dumoulin
Laba Festival 臘八 and Major Cold 大寒
Today is Laba 臘八 Festival (January 20, 2021). Laba Festival is celebrated on the 8th day of the last month of Lunar New Year. The ancient festival originated about 3000 years ago as an occasion for people to give sacrifices to their ancestors, and to pray for a good harvest.
The famous Laba porridge was first introduced during the Song Dynasty about 900 years ago as a commemoration to their ancestors. A nutritious porridge with among others glutinous rice, millet, beans, seeds, nuts and dates.
It is also said that the founder of Buddhism Sakyamuni became a Buddha on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, the day of Laba festival. The name Laba comes from La, the 12th month and Ba the eighth day.
Laba garlic is another traditional food made on this day, mostly in Northern China. Laba garlic is preserved garlic in rice vinegar. After a few weeks the garlics are turning green. And usually the vinegar and garlics are perfectly ready to eat together with the traditional dumplings during Spring Festival (Lunar/Chinese New Year).
This year Laba festival is on the same day as the start of the last solar term of the Lunar Year of the Rat; “Major Cold” (dà hán 大寒), the coldest time. So a hot, nutritious Laba porridge is more than welcome today 😊
Wishing everyone a wonderful Laba Festival !
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