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.
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.
Since the festival was held on the eighth day of the Last month, people later appended the number eight (ba in Chinese), giving us the current Laba .
The majority Han Chinese have long followed the tradition of eating Laba rice porridge on the Laba Festival. The date usually falls in mid-January.