Laba Festival

Nicholas Quirke was entering the Chinese New Year celebration period which began on 20 January 2021. This is marked in China by Laba festival and like most of China’s celebrations there was special food to accompany the event. On the eighth day of the lunar month prior to Chinese New Year, the Laba holiday a traditional porridge, Laba porridge also called Eight Treasure Congee, a Chinese ceremonial congee dish, cooked with rice, beans, peanuts, dried fruit, lotus seeds, is served in remembrance of an ancient festival, called La, that occurred shortly after the winter solstice.  The congee is served at first light with the first bowl being offered to the ancestors. Pickles such as Laba garlic, which turns green from vinegar, are also made and eaten on this day. This meant his day started eating Jiaozi, a congee and cloves of garlic. Needless to say it was a fulfilling breakfast and one that broke his January raw food detox. As he had shed even more weight in the process he was happy to indulge for this one day to mark the important period. He still faced another day at work and at mid week he was already finding it something of a strain and looking forward to the end of the week. He taught the class for a 3 hour session in the morning on reading and they had finished ‘Aladdin’ and started on ‘Wind In The Willows’. The rustic English charm and life on the River Bank, despite the eccentricity of it’s characters did not hold the same appeal the adventures of the Eastern ‘Aladdin’ offered. It was a strain on his patience and the students seemed particularly wilful and work shy. The afternoon was a little more fun though when he asked them to use their imaginations to create a caravan, a boat and a motor car from the furniture in the room the result was singularly uninspiring. It was a relief when the day came to an end and he could head home. The online business conference was still taking place and it was another evening of doing his own thing which included a little de-cluttering of his own possessions which had been amassed during his year long journey. Another night with no movie and to accommodate his early start an early sleep.

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