There is, however, another touching story. When Sakyamuni was on his way into the high mountains in his quest for understanding and enlightenment, he grew tired and hungry. Exhausted from days of walking, he passed into unconsciousness by a river in India. A shepherdess found him there and fed him her lunch—porridge made with beans and rice. With such nourishment he was 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 ad held a ceremony the following day, during which they chant the sutras and offer porridge to Buddha. Thus, the tradition of eating laba porridge was based in religion, though with time the food itself became a popular winter dish especially in cold northern China.