FVH lecture on Tet traditions

Like previous years, right before Tet (Lunar New Year), the Friends of Vietnam Heritage (FVH) will host a lecture on Tet traditions on January 17.

FVH lecture on Tet traditions
A man releases a carp into a lake in Hanoi. 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

Governed by tradition, taboos and legends, Tet is the most important festival and public holiday in Vietnam. One of Tet’s most important ritual is Ong Tao or The Kitchen God, which signals the start of Tet 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 Le Van Lan, a noted author, historian, and archaeologist in Vietnam. Prof Lan will first explain the origins and rituals of Tet. 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 Ong Tao. The group will then return to learn about and experience a wide range of traditional Tet foods.

The lecture will take place from 6pm until 9pm at the Hanoi Club Hotel, 76 Yen Phu Street, Tay Ho District.

 

The donation costs VND250,000/person, including a VND50,000 voucher for soft drink or alcohol at the bar, one fish and a traditional Tet buffet, VND125,000 for students with current ID and children under 15 years. For registration contact John Reilly by emailing lefthanded2hanoi@yahoo.com. — VNS

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