A bowl of Wuxi-style Laba porridge. [Photo/Wuxi Daily]
Chinese people start their preparations for the Spring Festival more than 20 days in advance. The 12th lunar month in Chinese is called la yue, so the eighth day of this lunar month is la yue chu ba, or laba.
Laba this year falls on Dec 30. It is also known as the Laba Rice Porridge Festival. Many of the festival's customs are directly related to Buddhism.
On the day of the festival, people in Wuxi will make tasty pots of salty porridge with mixed grains, green vegetables, red beans, soybeans, peanuts, gingko, tofu, taro, radish, and bone soup as the base.
This dish is a staple of the Spring Festival. In the north, it is considered a dessert and sugar is added; in the south, salt is added instead.
In addition to Laba porridge, residents in Wuxi also make rice dumplings and write spring scrolls to prepare for the coming new year.