The Laba Festival 臘八節/腊八节) is celebrated on the eighth (ba 八) day of the 12th month (la yue 腊月) and is one of the most important traditional festivals in Chinese culture. It is also a prelude to the Chinese Lunar New Year. This year the La Ba Festival falls on Jan 27.
The festival was originally a day of thanks for a good harvest and sacrifice to ancestors. The festival was used as commemoration of Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment at the age of 35. Therefore, many customs of the Laba Festival are related to Buddhism. In the Qing dynasty, ceremonies for the Laba festival would have been held in the Yonghe Temple in Beijing.
Ancestor worship (祭祖jì zǔ):
The reason lunar December is called La Yue has a lot to do with the custom of sacrifice. First, the worship of ancestors and the sacrifice for the gods both frequently took place in the twelfth month, which led to the traditional name of the month: La Yue（腊月). Second, winter is the slack season for farmers so they have time to find things to burn in the sacrifice.
Laba Rice Porridge (腊八粥 là bā zhōu): There are several legends about the origin of porridge eating on Laba:
Siddhārtha Gautama (the Buddha) once attempted to find the right path to awakening by starving himself. One day, when he was starved and weakened, he met a village girl who gave him milk and rice pudding (congee) after mistaking him for a spirit who granted her a wish. He attained enlightenment not long after that incident. Some say the porridge, made of red beans, has the power to exorcise evil from little kids.
Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, used to live in poverty before he rose to power. He ate congee during those hard times. After becoming the emperor, he asked the people to eat congee as well. The custom of porridge eating has been well-known throughout history, from the royal court to common people. Almost every region in China has its own local recipe for Laba porridge. Eating hot porridge is great in cold winter, and the grain and nuts are considered healthy winter fare.
Laba garlic (腊八蒜 là bā suàn): It is an old Beijing custom to soak purple-peel garlic with vinegar and a little sugar for twenty days starting from the Laba festival. When the whole family gets together for the dumpling feast on Spring Festival Eve, they take out the Laba garlic which will be crisp, with a vinegary flavor and a green color.
Beating Spring Ox:
On the first day of spring the government would hold a ceremony called “Beating Spring Ox” with the purpose of encouraging farming. After the ritual of “Beating Spring”, people would compete in grabbing the scattered pieces of the earthen ox, which would dispel pests or ants, and bring them good harvest in farming and abundant production of silk and livestock.
1. The most authentic porridge is made in Northern China, especially Beiping (北平).
2. Customs of having La-ba porridge is preserved in Northeast China, Northwest China and Jiangnan but it has become rarer in Southern parts of China.
3. During the rule of Qing dynasty, ceremonies for the Laba festival would have been held in the Yonghe Temple in Beijing.
Source: Wikipedia & hujiang; Pic source: hujiang and google search.
长春现“冰餐厅 ”cháng chūn xiàn “ bīng cān tīng ”
Have you ever imagined yourself sitting in a freezer and having lunch????
Yes, in a freezer…
If it is so, then you could make it a reality by just visiting Changchun, Jilin Province, China.
This restaurant is now a coolest place to hangout to enjoy some spicy hot pot. Customers can have hotpot and drinks in the ice rooms and enjoy “extreme ‘chill’ax sleep” on ice beds.
This newly-opened ice restaurant and bar is decorated with colorful lights which add warmth and brightness to the icy rooms, reported China News Service. The dining establishment also features a small “guestroom” where visitors can hop on an ice bed and pose for photos. Covering an area of 80 square meters, the ice restaurant was built by 20 workers in half a month.
Well, I would have had my taste buds taste a real ‘cool’ thing if they would have built it couple of years ago… 😛
During my childhood, I was always excited in the winter not just because of climatic change, I used to pass the time by watching cartoons in cartoon network which is filled with snow all around. As I hail from a tropical climate where Snowfall is limited just to the dreams, that day when I first saw snowfall I forgot How, where and what I am? Just jumping with joy all around the place like a kid whose dream is fulfilled…
The first fall of snow is not only an event; it is a mere magical one.
You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up with a different persona and if this is not delight then where it could be?
Oh! the Snow, the beautiful Snow,
Over the heads of the people you meet.
Follow your instincts and live the moments:
This experience will always have a special place in my heart forever as it is first experience all together. Friends whenever you get to see the snow for the first time don’t think of What, Where and how you are just go with your instincts live the moments. and have the divine memories
When I was a kid, I heard that “One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.” I totally echo with this statement. After Changchun, Beijing is my 2nd home in China. Whenever I get Vacations, I used to go to Beijing to spend my vacations to hang out with my friends. With the love and affection of my friends Emily jiang, Zhiqin zhou and Haijun yang families, I never thought I was in a different place. I am more familiar with the roads and streets of Beijing than any other city(not even my home town :p ). In this particular post I wanna recollect all those nostalgic memories.
One of the main highlights of our trip to Xi’an was Terracotta warriors. One may hear of the Terra-Cotta Warriors, but seeing them is another thing. This is a place that is like a hidden treasure, even though it is written everywhere how great and stunning it is, when you are there in person the experience is overwhelming. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century.
The Terracotta Army or the “Terracotta Warriors and Horses(兵马俑 binmayong)” is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. This army is located in Lintong district, Xian, Shaanxi province, China.
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. The Terracotta Army was built on the emperor’s orders to guard the underground palace where he was buried, to protect him in the afterlife. Just as the palace mirrored the imperial capital, the warriors replicated the imperial guard.
These Life size terracotta warriors and horses are exhibited in a museum which is huge and is divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest and is the awesome one. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. No. 2 Pit It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.There are several covered “pits” where the warriors and horses are on display in their original placements. Beyond the actual artifacts, there is great shopping as part of the complex.
Discovery of Terracotta warriors:
A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty.
One of the farmer who discovered the terracotta warriors is still alive at 83(maybe); Our driver took us to the bookstore and introduced us to that man. We were lucky enough to meet the man behind this amazing discovery. You can buy the books which are autographed by him and you need to pay him a small fee if you want to take a picture with him. I still remember how our driver praised my linguistic skills while introducing me to this man. He was curious to know about my life that how I learned the language,culture and many things. He was quite impressed with us(may be) and didn’t charge anything for the picture.
This is an archeological treasure that is not to be missed. It is one of the most important discoveries of the twentieth century in China and, seeing it live is truly amazing.Don’t miss this if you plan a trip to China.
During my College days, I used to go to southlake along with my friends to kill our leisure time. Generally we go there to view sunsets and rarely sunrises which always help us to relax our minds. I think this is the only place where I’ve seen so many sunsets or sunrises than any other. And I still remember in my first year of med school, my friends Zhaoxin & Vikky Yingsu who taught me basics in Chinese language at the time of sunsets. I cannot forget those beautiful days and this post is to show my gratitude towards them for making me to realize the importance of local language in very early days of my China journey.