The Vietnamese people have a zest and reverence for life that is quite admirable and it no wonder that the Vietnamese calendar is actually one long procession of festivities and celebrations. In Vietnam, December is a busy month and the Tet Tao Quan, Vietnam is one of the most important of the Vietnamese festivalsheld during this time.
About The Tet Tao Quan, Vietnam
The festival of Tet Tao Quan, Vietnam is observed on the 23rd day of the lunar month, which is December. The Vietnamese people believe in Ong Conga (the Land Genie) and Ong Tao (the Kitchen God or the Deity of the Hearth) who look after the well-being of their house and property. These deities travel up to the Heavens on the day of the Tet Tao Quan to pray for the prosperity and good luck of the Vietnamese people to Ngoc Hoang (the Jade Emperor). The Gods return to the earth on New Year’s Eve and resume their duties.
The Tet Tao Quan, Vietnam is all about bidding a grand farewell to the Gods on their journey to the Heavens. On the auspicious day, the usual custom is to prepare delicacies from the newly harvested sticky rice, like steamed sticky rice accompanied by sugar porridge and sticky rice cookies shaped like cones. Incense sticks are lighted up and fresh flowers are used for the worshipping ceremony.
Along with these preparations, a sink of water is kept aside in which one large carp or three small ones, all alive, are placed. According to the rituals of the Tet Tao Quan, Vietnam, these carps are freed in to a pond or a river after the worshipping ceremonies are over. It is held that the carp is a good swimmer and hence would be able to escort Ong Cong and Ong Tao and help them cross the Vu Moon or the Heaven’s Gate.
The freeing of the carps into nature’s lap is also akin to performing a kind deed towards the animal world and hence would augur well for the luck of the people in the forthcoming new year.