Laba Festival marks the start of Chinese New Year festivities

Chinese New Year

Tuesday is “Laba Festival”, which is celebrated on the eighth day of the last month of the Chinese traditional calendar. Chinese mark the holiday by eating a special meal in China. CCTV’s Stanley Lee reported this story in Beijing.

Laba Festival marks the start of Chinese New Year festivities

Tuesday is "Laba Festival", which is celebrated on the eighth day of the last month of the Chinese traditional calendar. Chinese mark the holiday by eating a special meal in China. CCTV’s Stanley Lee reported this story in Beijing.

There is an old saying: “First came the Tanzhe temple, and then came Beijing” which may be why the courts of the temple fill with crowds during Laba Festival. They come to pray for personal wellbeing for the coming new year and to eat Laba porridge.

The custom of coming to the temple can be traced back to ancient times when Chinese offered sacrifices to ancestors during the last month of the lunar year. When Buddhism spread into China, that day became associated with the anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha.
Eating porridge at this time has a long history in China. During the imperial period, it was distributed to the poor. The traditional recipe is a mix of eight ingredients including glutinous rice, red beans and peanuts, and takes eight hours to make.

Though most people today are here for the experience, the act of sharing is still a powerful symbol of charity and care for those in need.