Kitchen Gods’ Day – Tết Ông Táo

Kitchen Gods’ Day – Tết Ông Táo

The Kitchen Gods’ Day

In Vietnamese culture, Tet holiday is  the biggest and longest festival of the year. December of lunar calendar, always called Chạp month, is the busiest month as Vietnamese people spend time to celebrate this special event.

 kitchen god day

Celebrate Kitchen Gods’ Day is a traditional custom on the occasion of the Lunar New Year  

According to the Vietnamese legend, Tet holiday actually begins with The Kitchen Gods’ Day on December 23rd of the lunar calendar. This year, the Kitchen Gods’ Day falls on January 25th, 2022.

Vietnamese believed that The Kitchen Gods are two male gods and one female. They are the guardian spirit of the kitchen and believed to bring the luck and good fortune to every member of the family.

As the legend goes, on this day, the Gods of Kitchen will ride a carp to fly back to the heaven and report to the Jade Emperor all household activities.

In the afternoon on the 30th of December (Lunar Calendar) or the moment of New Year’ s Eve, Kitchen Gods return every house to continue their job of looking after the stove in the kitchen.


Traditional Customs On The Kitchen Gods’ Day

Cleans up the kitchen

According to Vietnamese belief your kitchen is “home” of The Gods. Therefore, you need to keep your house clean and tidy, especially during this important day. Vietnamese people believe that the kitchen is a very important place in the house where your family have meals together.  Mealtime is a time for family members to talk and share about everything that happens in life.

Prepares the offering tray

offering tray

 A food tray to offer to Kitchen Gods (Photo: Internet)

On this day, each family will prepare the hearty worshiping tray filled. The offerings always include betel and areca nuts, incense, fruit, flowers, sticky rice, boiled chicken, soup, etc.  Sometimes, you can prepare a simple offering with fruits, sweets, and cookies.

In particular, there is always the presence of votive paper shoes, mandarin bonnets, robes,  and paper or alive carps, etc.

release carps

Carps are released after the worshiping ceremony (Photo: Internet)

In the North, families also buy 3 carps (or goldfish) to drop into the water bowl next to the tray. After the ceremony, they are brought to the river to release, they are considered as a means of bringing them to heaven. Meanwhile, in the Central region, it is customary to offer a paper horse with a full saddle; In the South, only offering clothes and paper hats are enough.

Worshiping times

offering tray - To Hung GIang

Traditionally, the worshiping ceremony should be placed at the altar in the kitchen (Photo: To Hung Giang)

The worshiping ceremony is usually conducted before 12 noon on the 23rd of the lunar calendar. Because according to folklore, after 12 noon, the Gods of Kitchen will not receive offerings anymore.

During the pray time, people often ask the Gods of Kitchen to report good things to the family and avoiding bad things. Because The Jade Emperor will decide to punish or bless the family due to this report. If the family does many good activities, they will have good luck and peace in the new year.  On the contrary, the family will have many misfortunes if the family has many bad activities in the old year.

The custom of worshiping The Kitchen Gods is maintained through many generations of Vietnamese people.

After the Kitchen Gods’ Day, Vietnamese people are more and more busy to prepare for the Lunar New Year.  Everyone wishes a new year full of happiness, success, and prosperity.

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