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
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.
Changchun is the capital of Jilin province located in the Northeast part of China.The name is originated from the Jurchen language which means “LongSpring”. The six urban districts of Changchun’s city proper have a total population of 3,341,700 in 2010 which correspond to the built up area Known as China’s Automobile City, Changchun is an important industrial base with a particular focus on the automotive sector.Changchun is rich in natural resources, with nine rivers flowing across it such as the song huajing river and the yilitong River and the seven lakes including Aubautupor and Polopor.
City can be, at times, best viewed at night, if nothing else to realize the vastness of a place.At night you can discover the real beauty of the City.
Changchun..One and half month !!!
China… One month!!
You don’t know how much I really miss this place until I go there again..Best days of my life and the main years of my life were spent in changchun. I went to changchun at tender 18’s as a confused boy and returned as a confident man.! This place turned me into a better person and a better human being. I have learnt many things here…I am not getting perfect words to express my feelings. All I can say is that I love you changchun..What I’m now is because of you!!
There’s too much left undone. Too many dreams and ambitions in my heart for Changchun city and for the people.Its hard for me to make a list of what I miss…Because I miss everything…
- I miss the language, i miss that feeling of doing something that not many people get to do..
- I miss all my Chinese friends and their families…(for making me a Chinese boy by teaching me their culture & language)
- I miss all those nightouts &all those lazy days..
- Miss those gym friends and gym workouts..
- Miss that -20 to -30 temp ..and miss wearing those heavy jackets
- Miss those street foods on guilin lu
- Miss those long walks,saunabaths,snookers,bowling,funny chats and Xbox gaming whole night
- Miss those window shoppings&drinking parties
- Miss all those streets near by teaching building, Jilin university Cafeteria.. 😉
- I miss the opportunities, i miss the energy of the Changchun city, and so much more!
- I think this post will eat lot of memories, if I list everything here.. 😀
- It’s an ongoing struggle to think i used to live in China. Still some where in my mind I feel like I’m not done with China and China’s not done with me.”
All the memories I have about changchun are unforgettable..This is the place where I learnt many things.These 5 years of my life were the most memorable. I know what I have learnt. I can sense the changes in me. I met some really great people who contributed to my life in one or the other way I was encouraged, appreciated, criticized and discouraged time to time. But it always added towards my learning and helped me to learn and become a better Doctor in every step
I thought that..I should go back home without any regrets..but now i have few regrets..that I didnt meet my close friends
Mike,Yingying,Dana,zhang,yuanfei,Liaodengping,wangmeiling,huiwei etc..sorry guys couldnt meet you..one more regret is about Laotou Baozi 😛
Few night pictures near our campus area….
Saint Sophia Cathedral 聖索菲亜教堂(Shèng Suǒfēiyà Jiàotáng) is situated at Daolitou long street,Harbin city. It was first constructed in 1907 and is now the biggest church of Eastern Orthodox in China. The walls of the church are simply constructed from redbricks. the church is 36m high.with 5 domes big or small.It covers an area of 721sq.m and is a typical representative of Byzantine architecture.It is now the muncipal architecture art museum of Harbin and a key cultural relics unit under state protection.
Yanji is situated in Eastern Jilin province. It became the capital of the Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture in 1952. Yanji is relatively young: the city grew up only in the nineteenth century and became the capital of its region just after the 2nd World war. Due to its large Korean population, the Hamgyong dialect of Korean is widely spoken in Yanji. However, most ethnic Koreans in Yanji are bilingual in Mandarin and Korean. All official signs are written in both Chinese characters and Korean hangul.After a series of famines struck in 1869, Koreans first migrated to the Yanji area. The area, called the Yanbian Chaoxianzu (Korean) Autonomous Prefecture, is the home of the largest group of ethnic Koreans living outside of Korea. Unlike other Chinese cities, this little city is relatively clean and peaceful. Yanji is often described as more of a Korean, rather than Chinese, community. Korean cuisine is highly popular and available everywhere.
Day-1 (23Oct2012): We arrived Yanji at 1:00 AM on 23rd Oct, 2012. It was quite beautiful night filled with colorful lights.After a long journey we were quite tired We went to Wangmeiling’s home, to fill our empty tummy’s.We finalized for the next day’s plan, watched movie and crashed to bed.
Day2-When we boarded the bus I was amazed by the people since I didn’t hear any chinese at all, everyone were talking in Korean and even the medium of instructions in the bus were in Korean. We got down at the travel agency to book a trip to changbaishan for the next day.Lunch at Korean restaurant was quite different. Tried local Korean dishes like Cold noodle( the characteristic food of Korean-Chinese,authentic taste is nowhere else to be found. Sweet, cold & bit spicy at the same time. Korean BBQ’s very delicious)
Post lunch we went for Hiking at Maoer’shan. It took around 4-5hours for us to hikeup & down then Explored Yanji at night.
Day4-Went to Hunchun fangchuanàWe were Back by eveningàFor dinner we tried Shenjitang(参鸡汤), herbs and ginseng chicken soup with boiled rice in it (Samgyetang in Korean).I strongly recommend Shenjitang,Mijiu(rice wine),Cold noodles and Barbeque for the people who are planning to visit YanjiDay 5—As it was heavily raining we were at home till evening playing games and watching some tv shows then We went to watch Borne Legacy movie in theatres then dinner in a Japanese restaurant,(We hardly remembered the names of the cuisines)
Day-6 Went for a Walk in the morning. Very pleasant weather it was, Big roads less number of vehicles. Then we made breakfast by ourselves, and went to explore Yanji further. I was surprised by knowing that Yanbian University, is the only university in China that employs Korean as an official medium of instruction in addition to Chinese. And Anesthesia department in medicine is best in china itseems.Dinner at Japanese student restaurant.
About the Tiger Park:
Siberian Tiger park covers an area of more than 250 acres in an area just to the North of Sun Island park,Harbin.It is the 2nd largest natural park for wild Siberian Tigers in China. at present. The park enjoys a favorable foundation for Ecotourism and splendid scenery. There are over 500 purebred Siberian Tigers here, with 100 visible to visitors. In addition, visitors can also see White Tigers, Lions, Lynx, Leopards, and Black Pumas as well as Bengal Tigers. It is a large park divided into ten areas, including the young Tiger area, the mature Tiger area, the King Tiger area, a walking area and a platform for viewing the Tigers. The mature Tiger area has an area of 89 acres with 30 Siberian Tigers wandering there.
The Tigers in this area are all about 7 or 8 years old. And in the young Tiger area, there are over 40 young lovely, active Tigers about 2 years old. The park also houses some Lions which coexist peacefully with the Tigers.
In addition to viewing the Tigers walking leisurely in the open-air, visitors can buy poultry or animals to feed them, including Ducks, Chickens, and even Cows. Park employees will set the living animal free among the Tigers, and Visitors can see the unique live action of Tigers preying upon it.
Some distinct features of Siberian Tiger are:
Siberian Tigers are the largest surviving breed of Tigers, and are the biggest of the big cats.Males are commonly about 22.5kgs. They used to range in the Northeastern part of Asia,Russia and Central Asia.
A very unique experience.
Went in a bus with a load of tourists.We traveled around the Tiger pens in a caged bus.It was kind of boring bus ride at the beginning, but then Tigers appeared everywhere ! it was very interesting to see these beasts roaming freely in their natural habitat! I’ve seen many places in china but this is definitely a Unique experience.
The Best Part :
The highlight for me was tossing a live Chicken to the Tigers. It was 50 yuans Where else can you engage in that type of primeval activity?? More interesting than any other typical zoo enclosures.