iChongqing Title

Laba Festival Marks the Beginning of the Chinese New Year


Laba Festival, which is considered a prelude to the Spring Festival, arrives again. Perhaps everyone has their own memory of this festival, such as eating Laba congee and making Laba garlic. Wang Juan, a folk expert, said that the food people eat at Laba Festival includes Laba congee and Laba noodles, whereas, in some places, people also drink “Laba wine.”

What’s Laba Festival?

Laba Festival falls on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month. In many places, people eat Laba congee during this festival. Laba congee’s ingredients may vary slightly from place to place, but they remain basically the same, including rice, millet, sticky rice, red beans, peanuts, and raisins.

“As for the origin of Laba congee, there are different versions.” According to Wang Juan, there is a story about encouraging thrift. “Legend has it a person threw away a lot of food. People around him felt it was such a waste, so they collected the discarded food without being noticed.”

The food they collected involved beans and rice. At the end of the year, the wasteful person had nothing to cook, so those people around him put the saved food altogether to make congee. Since then, the family got to know the importance of saving food.

In Chongqing Yubei District, residents and community workers make “grain paintings” and Laba congee together. (Photo/ Yang Xinyu, Chongqing Morning Post)

What’s else apart from Laba congee?

Laba Festival may carry many heart-warming memories, evidenced by Laba dietary customs, including eating Laba congee.

“In the past, the family elders attached great importance to the festival. They would not only cook Laba congee but also make Laba garlic beforehand,” said Miss Cheng when asked about her experience of celebrating the Laba Festival.

Laba garlic and Laba noodles are also representatives of Laba food. People select top-quality garlic and put it in vinegar. When Lunar New Year’s Eve arrives, the garlic, a perfect match for dumplings, will turn into the beautiful color of green.

“Another story is that in Chinese, “garlic” is a homophone of “calculation,” reminding people to calculate their debts or profits and losses since a year is coming to an end.” Wang Juan said that people also drink Laba wine at the festival in some places.

Laba congee is served to passengers on Laba Festival on the train. (Photo/ Li Jing, Chongqing Morning Post)

Closer to the Spring Festival

The arrival of the Laba Festival means one step closer to the Spring Festival, and people will be busy preparing for the celebration.

“Traditional festivals provide a channel for strengthening family connections and maintaining family ties.” Wang Juan believes that in the processes of preparing for and celebrating a festival, people deepen the traditional concept of “family” and feel the profundity of family ties.

Many of the understandings of dietary traditions on festivals, folk customs, and traditional cultures are gained through the celebration of traditional festivals. In Wang Juan’s view, we should emphasize traditional festivals and feel their value and significance through celebration.

In her opinion, we should store people’s cultural and living needs and integrate traditional festivals into modern life. “Every one of us is an inheritor of these festivals and excellent traditional Chinese cultures.”

Traincrew members were decorating carriages on a train departing from Wanzhou District in Chongqing on the day of the Laba Festival. (Photo/ Li Jing, Chongqing Morning Post)


A Tour in Chongqing, A Gain in Vision

A Land of Natural Beauty, A City with Cultural Appeal

Internet illegal and undesirable information can be reported by calling this telephone number:+86-23-67230470
I Agree
Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

For any inquiries, please email service@ichongqing.info

About UsContact Us

Leaving a message