China / Hot Issues

Shaolin Temple considers applying for Laba porridge as intangible cultural heritage

(ECNS) Updated: 2015-01-28 08:08

Shi Yongxin, Shaolin abbot, said the temple may consider applying for porridge served during Laba Festival to be added as an intangible cultural heritage, reported on Tuesday.

Shi disclosed the idea while giving away porridge to the temple's followers and citizens on January 27th. The festival, also called Buddha Purnima, falls on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month and marks the day when Shakyamuni was enlightened or became the Buddha.

At 9am, Shi and his fellow monks started to offer hot Laba congee, a type of porridge, to people waiting outside. Before 10am, 20,000 bowls had been distributed.

This is the seventh year since the Shaolin Temple resumed its tradition of offering porridge during the festival. The activity is held to benefit followers of Buddhism and to pray for the happiness of the common people, the abbot explained.

Shaolin Temple has a history of over one thousand years of distributing porridge for free.

Laba congee enjoys such a wide reputation that the Shaolin Temple will apply for it to become a national cultural heritage, it was added.

Abbot Shi also expressed a wish that Laba festival would become a public holiday during which the tradition of drinking a bowl of congee and praying for good health and happiness could be passed down.

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