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, which falls on February 1 this year.
On this day, every family is busy staging a farewell ceremony for the Land Genie and the Kitchen Gods on their yearly visit of Heaven.
As the legend goes, the Land Genie and the Kitchen Gods will ride carps to Heaven on the day to deliver an annual report on the household's activities to the God of Heaven.
As the gods make their journey on the back of fish, it is traditional to release live carps into lakes or rivers, which is considered a kindhearted deed to pray for good luck.
Yesterday morning, many households nationwide released carps into lakes or rivers to hope for good luck.
To ensure that the Kitchen Gods go to Heaven smoothly, yesterday morning, many families in HCM City rented motorboats to release carps to the middle of a lake or river because they are afraid the carps would be caught or poisoned by polluted water.
Many people think that if bad things happen to the carp, good luck will not come to them.
People pay VND40,000 (US$1.7) to rent a motorboat to release carp.
The Kitchen Gods, the guardian spirit of the kitchen, are believed to comprise two male gods and one female, who bless the household and keep up the kitchen fire, making every member of the family happy and well-off.
Don't steal flowers, please
Hoan Kiem Lake is decorated with many flowers to welcome Tet (Lunar New Year).
To ensure the beauty of the scene around the lake, employees of Ha Noi Green Tree and Park Ltd. Co, which is responsible for decoration, have to sleep outdoor in cold weather every night to keep flowers out of the hands of thefts.
Some of them said that at least five or ten flower pots were stolen each night. More pots are stolen if the weather is very cold, they reported.
Flower robbers often disguise themselves as visitors or fishermen to steal flowers when the workers do not pay attention, a worker said.
She said that they will be fined if the flowers are stolen.
"I love you"
Most schools in Ha Noi are now applying information technology in sending messages to parents' mobile phones to inform them about their children's performance at school regarding studying, tests or mistakes in the day.
The messages are sent by the teacher of each class or school managing board.
One day as usual, the managing board of a school sent a message to all students' parents to announce that the students would be off the next day.
The message was: "School managing board: I love you." Most parents were shocked at that massage while students thought that one male teacher was flirting with a student's mother and he used the computer of the school to send a message to her mobile phone.
Fortunately, after five minutes, all parents received another message from the school managing board to say sorry to parents because there was trouble with the computer's technology. — VNS