腊八节 Laba Festival
The Laba Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the eighth day of the twelfth month of the lunar Chinese calendar. “La” represents the 12th lunar month，and “ba” means the number eight. Laba Festival is originated from the Chinese ancient harvest celebrations. It is a kind of ritual to thank to ancestors and gods. In addition to worship ancestors the activities, there also remains also a custom in the HuNan province of Chinaa, people beat drums to drive away the evils and sickness. People believed the witchcraft, a magic power, so the people beat drums to drive away the evils and sickness.
How do the Chinese celebrate the Laba festival?
The two most important traditions associated with Laba Festival are: eating Laba porridge, and praying for peace and good health in the coming year.
Laba rice porridge contains glutinous rice, red beans, millet, peas, dried lotus seeds, and some other ingredients, such as dried dates, chestnut, walnut , almond, peanut, etc. At least eight ingredients are to be used, cooked with sugar to make the porridge tasty.
The cooking process is not complicated but time-consuming. Controlling the heat is of great importance in making Laba porridge. At the beginning, the mixture of water and bean should be heated over a high flame, but after boiling，the flame would be turned down to let the porridge simmer until it begins to emit delicious smell.
Laba porridge is not only easy to prepare, but also a nutritious winter food because it contains amino acids, protein, vitamins and other nutrition. Virtually every household in China eats Laba porridge on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month; Today, Laba porridge serves as a symbol of reunion, good fortune, long life, and harvest.