The tradition stems from the history of the Enlightenment of The Buddha and is commemorated by Buddhists around the world.
The Prince realised that physical hardship was actually an obstacle to enlightening and he got up and walked to the Naranjara River where he collapsed, too weak and sick to stand up. A shepherd woman found him and offered him a bowl of soothing rice porridge. This rice porridge assisted him in regaining his energy. He returned to the woods (Bodh Gaya) and decided to sit and mediate under a Bodhi tree in the asana position, vowing that he would not leave this spot until had attained Nirvana (Enlightenment).
In commemoration of this, FGS Nan Hua Temple and BLIA Johannesburg and Pretoria chapters, cooked almost 3 500 bowls of rice porridge with eight ingredients, which included rice, peanuts, carrots, Chinese mushrooms, Chinese fat cakes, bok choy, goji berries etc. The bowls along with posters announcing the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations (the year of the snake), were handed out to shops owners and shoppers in 13 Chinese malls, as a symbol of friendship.
The main purpose was to promote the conducts of Buddhism and to encourage the communities to participate in meaningful activities ie speak good words, think good thoughts and do good deeds.
Written by Lee Raath-Brownie and Dumann Ying