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Chinese New Year Starts in Soup Kitchen

16 January 2008

“过了腊八就是年”,After lunar 8 December, it is Chinese New Year.

By knock opening a soup kitchen door in Buddhist monasteries, Chinese kick open lunar New Year. In this regards, drinking a bowl of warm, sweet, nuts-rich laba porridge literally warms up for the biggest annual festival in China with the warm spirits of giving.

Lunar December 8 is right in the deepest of the winter, which is no deference this year. But according to the local reports, in many cities, people braved the cold lining up long queues in front of the Buddhist temples for a bowl of “lucky porridge” (讨喜粥). In Guanghua Temple (广化寺) at the heart of Beijing, Shichahai (什刹海), the monks and lay Buddhists began to prepare in their annual soup kitchen since the night of December 7. Early in 6am, at a temperature of minus 10° C, a long queue materialised before a giant pot 1.2meters in diametre, and three hours later, 1.5 tons of porridge were distributed among 3,000 soup lovers.

In Pilu Temple (毗卢寺) in Nanjing, the initial capital of the Ming Dynasty, 28,888 bowls (what a lucky number) of “lucky porridge” made with 38 (another lucky number) nuts, and the water drawn from an ancient well dug during the Ming Dynasty were provided to the lucky seekers.

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In Nanjing, people ling up to get a bowl of laba porridge from a Buddhist temple

A Chinese monk in deep contemplation over his laba porridge that had helped to transform a man into a Buddha thousands years ago

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