On the 23rd of the last month in the lunar calendar, Vietnamese people prepare for one of the rituals for three gods and goddesses of their kitchen that take place before the Lunar New Year.
In Vietnamese belief, “Táo Quân” is a group of Gods who derived from an ancient Chinese Taoism theory. However, unlike the belief of one God in charge, Vietnamese Gods of Kitchen engage in watching over the three compartments of land, house, and kitchen.
Though divided into three separate figures, Vietnamese people make it a common name as “Táo Quân” or “Ông Táo” instead of telling each apart. Land or soil is an originating life. Fire plays an essential role to keep the happiness and property of the house. Because the fire is burning frequently, it means the owner’s family is rich and enough food.
Vietnamese all believe that “Táo Quân” is returning to heaven each year and reporting to the God of Heaven all activities and events occurring in the “living World” within the past year. The Vietnamese tend to prepare a generous and captivating offering feast to the Gods, with the hope of being told about their best things in the previous year.
Things to prepare for Kitchen Gods Days
Every house will prepare a tray of savory dishes, three pieces of joss-paper clothes, three alive carps, sticky rice, sweet soup dessert, incenses, and aromatic flowers. All of them were put carefully on the altar
Afterburn the incense, pray the Kitchen gods, send the wishing message to the Heaven gods, the carps will be released into the river.
If walking around the street or bridge, you can meet easily many Vietnamese people who are taking carps to the river.
These fishes are the vehicle for Kitchen Gods to come to heaven, according to the legend. At the heaven, they will report everything happening in the previous year of their family to the King of heaven. Then, they will come back on a year-end day to celebrate Tet holiday with the family. The carps then become the dragons. Tet Ong Cong, Ong Tao of Tet holiday 2020 is on January 17th.
If you are a foreigner and traveling to North Vietnam in this period, don’t forget to discover this special ritual of Vietnamese people.