Tomorrow (or today, depending on where you live), Táo Quân, the 3 household gods living in your kitchen, are going up to heaven to report to Ngọc Hoàng, the Sky God, about all the deeds that you did this year and Ngọc Hoàng will dole out rewards or punishments accordingly and dispense it in the coming year 🙂
So what did you do last year? 🙂
Me, I hope I didn’t do anything that merits another hurricane, heat wave, or snow storm this year 🙂
On this day, called Ngày Táo Quân về chầu trời, Vietnamese people offer food and burn paper money so the kitchen gods have supplies for their trip. Táo Quân‘s official vehicle is cá chép, a freshwater fish, so some families buy cá chép and release it back to the water (river or lake).
Another Vietnamese superstition is that you have to finish everything you started this year before the year ends or the unfinished business will bring you bad luck. Debts are paid back. People finish a business transaction. Yours truly have an unfinished manuscript that needs to be completed…
Another superstition is that no one cleans the house on the first day of New Year or you will clean your New Year good luck out of the house.
Sounds like all superstitions and no fun? 🙂
There’s a Vietnamese saying that goes like this
“Tháng giêng là tháng ăn chơi
Tháng hai đình đám
Tháng ba hội hè
Which roughly means January is for hanging out, Feb is for parties (at the pagoda), March is for festivals. As a true Vietnamese spirit, I will take a 3 month break and go on vacation!
I need some time off to finish my work and organize the new lessons.
The new posts will start again in Feb.
In the mean time, have fun!
See you again in the New Year, year of the Dragon!
P.S: Just in case you mistake this year’s Asian dragon for the big, fat, mean European ones in Harry Potter: Asian dragons are long, slender, and graceful. They bring rains (good for growing lots of rice and crops in Vietnam) and thunder. They are auspicious mythical animals that symbolizes power and good luck.
Here is an article with more photos about Vietnamese new year folk art (in Vietnamese, by the Ministry of Education)