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Laba, prelude to the Spring Festival
By:Wu Qiong  |  From:english.eastday.com  |  2022-01-11 17:25

The Laba Festival this year falls on January 10. As a traditional Chinese festival celebrated by the Han ethnic group who make up the vast majority of Chinese, the festival is regarded as the prelude to the Chinese Spring Festival.

To celebrate the day, people will have Laba porridge made from different kinds of rice, beans, and dried nuts. Though Laba porridge is also auspiciously named “eight-treasure porridge”, it does not have to be cooked from eight ingredients. However, three materials are essential for a traditional Laba porridge: red dates, Job’s tears and water caltrop. As the tradition goes, the porridge has to be prepared one day in advance and eaten on the morning of the 8th day of the 12th lunar month, so as to ward off evil spirits. In Shanghai, some traditional stores will offer free Laba porridge to citizens.

Laba garlic is also a food custom. Garlic is considered a natural "penicillin" as it has a good antibacterial or bactericidal effect. Appropriate consumption of garlic improves the immunity of the body, keeps away from the trouble of colds, and detoxifies the intestines and lower blood sugar.

But traditionally, people soak garlic in vinegar on Laba Festival and wait until the Spring Festival Eve to consume it. The garlic will have turned green by then. A kind tip for you: to get rid of the garlic smell, you can eat an apple. Because apples contain a lot of polyphenols, they can decompose the odor caused by eating garlic.