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A taste of holy porridge up among the clouds

Updated : 2015-01-30

A taste of holy porridge up among the clouds

Carefully selected Laba ingredients, Golden Lotus Hotel on Mount Wutai, on Jan 27. [Photo/wutaishan.city.sohu.com]

China's Laba Rice Porridge Festival comes on Dec 8 of the lunar calendar and celebrates Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism and its doctrine.

The festival, which came on Jan 27, this year, is based on a folk tale about Sakyamuni releasing himself from the mortal body after spending 6 years practicing Buddhism doctrine in a forest alongside a river, without eating anything. As his starvation had reached its bodily limit, a shepherdess wandered by and shared some porridge with him. After regaining his strength, he decided to leave this particular practice and achieved enlightenment at the age of 35 hence the tradition of making the special porridge to honor the god, which spread across China.

A taste of holy porridge up among the clouds

Monks on Mount Wutai praying and chanting for the Laba feast, on Jan 27. [Photo/wutaishan.city.sohu.com]

The festival is a grand feast up on Mount Wutai and the Golden Lotus Hotel was busy providing free Laba porridge for local people, students and tourists passing by, and in a mere two hours, hotel had handed out thousands of bowls of porridge, giving the fortunate participants a nice, warm feeling in the chilly weather.

A taste of holy porridge up among the clouds

Cook busy stirring the ingredients for a good batch of porridge, on Jan 27. [Photo/wutaishan.city.sohu.com]

Hotel personnel said that for this year's holy meal they selected very good walnuts, lotus seeds, beans, sticky rice, coarse rice, jujube and other ingredients and spent the whole night making hundreds of kilograms of porridge to send it out to anyone and everyone nearby.

A taste of holy porridge up among the clouds

Lining up out on the street for a taste of free porridge, on Jan 27. [Photo/wutaishan.city.sohu.com]

Some of the fortunate recipients were local sanitation workers, patrolmen, and public security personnel, giving them a feel of warmth during the festival even while working outside in the cold. Many tourists made their way up the mountain before dawn, with one man, named Wang, from Linyi, Shandong province, declaring that it was really nice to have such a hot, delicious meal for free.

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