Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Preparing for Vietnamese lunar new year

The Vietnamese Tet or Vietnamese lunar new year in 2012  is coming up.It  is the biggest  holiday in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Tet holiday play an important role in spiritual life of Vietnamese people. Therefore, they prepare for this holiday very carefully.

Visit the graves of parents and grandparents

During the week before Vietnam lunar new year – Tet Vietnam, some families visit the graves of parents and grandparents. Fresh earth is placed on top, weeds removed from around it and incense is burnt to invoke the souls of the dead from the other world to return to visit the family home.

A farewell and thank you dinner is given to the Kitchen God by the household

On the 23rd day of the 12th month, a farewell and thank you dinner is given to the Kitchen God by the household. The Kitchen God (Ong Tao or Mandarin Tao) is also called the Hearth God, the Stove God or the Household God. This god who was privy to the family’s most private business and intimate secrets for the ending year, returns to Heaven to make his report to the Jade Emperor. This report includes the year’s activities of the household in which he has lived. . The Kitchen God will need a week for his mission to Heaven.

The paper carps, horses and clothing (hats, robes and boots) will be burned by the family and thus transformed into a spiritual essence usable by Ong Tao in the world beyond. Like Santa Claus, the Kitchen God is loved and respected. Both have the capacity to bring fortune and happiness into the home depending on the previous year’s behavior. Although beliefs about the Kitchen God have changed over the years, he remains an important figure in the rich texture of Vietnamese New Year. The Kitchen God travels on the back of a brightly colored and powerful paper horse or sometimes a grand bird with great wings, such as a crane. Or he might ride on a carp with golden scales. Paper images of these vehicles are purchased at Tet or a living specimen of fish is bought and later set free. The day of his departure is marked by the calls of fishmongers from the countryside carrying baskets of fish hanging from their shoulder poles and calling “Fish for sale, fine mounts for the Household Gods to make their ride!” Live fish held in tanks of water and plastic bags are released into ponds, lakes, rivers and streams to impress the god with the kindness of the household. In Hanoi, the Sword Lake is a favorite spot for releasing Ong Tao’s fish-vehicle. In some cases, three fish are released to account for the possibility that one must please all three Hearth Gods.

The day before New Year’s Eve

The day before New Year’s Eve is a period of Tat Nien. Tat Nien (literally meaning the end or ‘to extinguish the year’) is the celebration of the last session of a period, such as the last class of school, the last bus home, the last day in the office, even the last bath, all with parties and great ceremony.

Some families set up a Tet tree in the week before New Year’s Eve. The Tet tree called cay neu, is a bamboo pole stripped of most of its leaves except for a bunch at the very top. The Tet tree has Taoist origins and holds talismanic objects that clang in the breeze to attract good spirits and repel evil ones. On the very top, they frequently place a paper symbol of yin and yang, the two principal forces of the universe. Sometimes a colorful paper carp flag will fly from the top. The carp (or sometimes a horse) is the vehicle on which the Hearth God travels to make his report. This tree is more common in the countryside now than in the city. It is ceremonially removed after the seventh day of Tet.

Homes are often cleaned and decorated before New Year’s Eve. Children are in charge of sweeping and scrubbing the floor. The kitchen needs to be cleaned before the 23rd night of the last month. Usually, the head of the household cleans the dust and ashes (from incense) from the ancestral altars. It is a common belief that cleaning the house will get rid of the bad fortunes associated with the old year. Some people would paint their house and decorate with festive items.

Thu nhỏ
Travel consultancy