Tet traditions honour Kitchen Gods
Updated : Thursday, February 08, 2018 3:02 PM (GMT+0700)

Formost Vietnamese, Tet (Lunar New Year) festival has actually begun with the “OngCong - Ong Tao” (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) ceremony on the 23rd ofthe last month of the lunar year, which falls on February 8 this year. 

For most Vietnamese, Tet (Lunar New Year festival) has actually begun with the
"Ong Cong - Ong Tao" (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) ceremony on the 23rd of the last
month of the lunar year - Photo: vnexpress.net

On this day, every family isbusy staging a farewell ceremony for the Land Genie and the Kitchen Gods ontheir yearly visit of Heaven. 

The Kitchen Gods, theguardian spirit of the kitchen, are believed to comprise two male gods and onefemale, who bless the household and keep up the kitchen fire, making everymember of the family happy and well-off. 

As the legend goes, the LandGenie and the Kitchen Gods will ride carps to Heaven on the day to deliver anannual report on the household’s activities to the God of Heaven. 

As the gods make theirjourney on the back of fish, it is traditional to release live carps into lakesor rivers, which is considered a kindhearted deed to pray for good luck. 

On that day, people alsoburn paper clothing, including hats, robes and boots, intended for use by thegenies on the trip beyond. 

After the Kitchen Gods go toHeaven, families begin tidying and decorating their houses to usher in the NewYear as they believe that a clean house represents a fresh star. 

On New Year's Eve, bothgenies will return to earth and resume their caretaking duties in the kitchenof the house. 

Although residents in eachregion across the country pay their homage to Ong Cong and Ong Tao in slightlydifferent ways, the gods remain important figures in the rich texture ofVietnamese New Year. 

The fire in the kitchen isthe symbol of not only warm family union, but also a bumper harvest andagricultural development of Vietnamese people. The custom of worshipping theKitchen Gods reflects Vietnamese’s respect of family happiness.


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