|No throw: Volunteers persuade people not to throw plastic bags into the Hồng (Red) River while releasing carp. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng|Viet Nam News
In Vietnamese tradition, Tết (Lunar New Year) festival actually begins with the "Ông Công - Ông Táo" (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) ceremony on the 23rd of the last month of the lunar year, which falls on February 5 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 to the God of Heaven.
As the legend goes, the Land Genie and the Kitchen Gods will ride carps to Heaven to deliver an annual report on the household’s activities to God. As the gods make their journey on the backs of fish, it is traditional to release live carp into lakes or rivers to pray for good luck.
People also burn paper clothing, including hats, robes and boots intended for use by the genies on their trip to the beyond. — VNS
|Cleaning up: Volunteers collect plastic bags from the Hồng (Red) River. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng|
|Judgement day: Live carp on sale at a market in Hà Nội. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng|
|Safe trip: Votive paper and other paper clothing for the Gods to use on their journey to heaven are on sale at many markets. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng|
|Freedom: It is also a tradition to release live carp into rivers and lakes as a means of transport for the gods and also as a good deed to invite good luck. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng|
|Heartwarming: A man in Hà Nội burns offerings to Ông Công – Ông Táo (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) as part of a farewell ceremony for them on their yearly visit to Heaven. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng|