A man releases a carp into a lake in Hà Nội. On the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, all the kitchen gods return to see the Jade Emperor, the King of Heaven, on the back of a carp. — Photo tinmoi.vn
HÀ NỘI — Like previous years, right before Tết (Lunar New Year), the Friends of Việt Nam Heritage (FVH) will host a lecture on Tết traditions on January 17.
Governed by tradition, taboos and legends, Tết is the most important festival and public holiday in Việt Nam. One of Tết’s most important ritual is Ông Táo or The Kitchen God, which signals the start of Tết preparations.
According to legend, each family has three kitchen gods who oversee all household affairs. On the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, all the kitchen gods return to see the Jade Emperor, the King of Heaven, on the back of a carp. They report to the Jade Emperor on each family’s affairs for the past year, returning on New Year’s Eve. People clean their houses and offer sacrifices to aid the god’s journey and ensure a good report.
The lecture will be conducted by Professor Lê Văn Lan, a noted author, historian, and archaeologist in Việt Nam. Prof Lan will first explain the origins and rituals of Tết. Attendees will then participate in sending the three kitchen gods by releasing a live carp into West Lake. A new set of votive clothes will be burnt as an offering to Ông Táo. The group will then return to learn about and experience a wide range of traditional Tết foods.
The lecture will take place from 6pm until 9pm at the Hanoi Club Hotel, 76 Yên Phụ Street, Tây Hồ District.
The donation costs VNĐ250,000/person, including a VNĐ50,000 voucher for soft drink or alcohol at the bar, one fish and a traditional Tết buffet, VNĐ125,000 for students with current ID and children under 15 years. For registration contact John Reilly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. — VNS