Laba Festival (腊八节) was celebrated on 13th of January 2019. This day corresponds to 8th of December in the Lunar Calendar.”La” represents the 12th month in the calendar and Ba the 8th day. Laba Festival is mostly celebrated by Han minority. It is also called the “Thanksgiving” of China.
LABA FESTIVAL HISTORY
The festival is related to Buddha – the day when he achieved enlightenment. The monks give offering to Buddha in form of “Laba porridge”. Some correlate the Laba Festival to harvest and sacrifice to the ancestors.
Each year, the day when the Laba Festival is celebrated, is very different because follows the Gregorian Calendar.
The festival started in China during Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD) and continued through Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 AD) when the Emperor offered Laba porridge to the officials and common people.
Laba porridge usually contains glutinous rice, wheat, corn, dried fruits (goji berry, raisins, red dates), beans, lotus seeds, peanuts so on. The ingredients are usually eight and the porridge can be sweat or salty. The first bowl of porridge is offered to the ancestors. In Yunnan Shaolin Temple the porridge had more than 20 ingredients in order to help and heal the body.
SHAOLN TEMPLE YUNNAN in Shaolin Temple Yunnan (云南少林寺) LABA FESTIVAL CELEBRATION
In Shaolin Temple Yunnan, the festivity started at 9.30 am with a Buddhist Ceremony kept by Venerable Abbot Grandmaster Shi Yanbei. Monks, foreign disciples, masters and lay Buddhists helped to serve Laba porridge to the masses. The porridge was made following the 5 Element Theory.
Foreign disciples which train in Shaolin Temple Yunnan under Shifu Shi Yanjun, were all present to help the monks in this special day. They are always welcome to join the Temple ceremonies taking part in the Temple rich Buddhist Culture.
We wish our Venerable Abbot of Songshan Shaolin Temple Grandmaster Shi Yongxin good wealth, prosperity, happiness and health to guide us and teach us the real and authentic Buddhist Principles. Amituofo!