我国民间有一句俗话“腊八，腊八，冻掉下巴”。农历腊月初八，被认为是一年中最冷的一天，而这天的习俗，是喝腊八粥。那么，“腊八粥”怎么说呢？“腊八粥”是怎么来的呢？ Laba is celebrated on the eighth day of the last lunar month，referring to the traditional start of celebrations for the Chinese New Year.“La”in Chinese means the 12th lunar month and “ba”means eight. It goes on January 11th this year.
Legends about the origin of this festivity abound. One holds that over 3，000 years ago sacrificial rites called “La”were held in the twelfth lunar month when people offered their preys to the gods of heaven and earth. The Chinese characters for prey and the twelfth month were interchangeable then，and ever since “La”has been used to refer to both.
The date of the Laba Festival usually falls in mid-January. The majority Han Chinese have long followed the tradition of eating Laba rice porridge on the Laba Festival. Laba rice porridge was first introduced to China in the Song Dynasty about 900 years ago.
Buddhism was well accepted in the areas inhabited by the Han Chinese，who believed that Sakyamuni，the first Buddha and founder of the religion，attained enlightenment on the eighth day of the twelfth month. Sutras were chanted in the temples and rice porridge with rice，beans，nuts and dried fruit was prepared for the Buddha. With the passing of time the custom extended，especially in rural areas where peasants would pray for a plentiful harvest in this way.
There is，however，another touching story：When Sakyamuni was on his way to the high mountains in his quest for understanding and enlightenment，he grew tired and hungry. Exhausted from days of walking，he fainted away by a river in India. A shepherdess found him there and fed him her lunch --porridge made with beans and rice.Sakyamuni was thus able to continue his journey.
After six years of strict discipline，he finally realized his dream of full enlightenment on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month.Ever since，monks have prepared rice porridge on the eve and held a ceremony the following day，during which they chant sutras and offer porridge to Buddha.Thus，the tradition of eating Laba porridge was based in religion，though with the passing of time the food itself became a popular winter dish especially in cold northern China.
According to written records，large Buddhist temples would offer Laba rice porridge to the poor to show their faith to Buddha. In the Ming Dynasty about 500 years ago，it became such a holy food that emperors would offer it to their officials during festivals. As it gained favor in the feudal upper class，it also quickly became popular throughout the country.