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Lecture: Tết Lunar New Year Traditions – The Kitchen God (Ông Táo) – FULL

January 17, 2020 @ 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Governed by tradition, taboos and legends, Tết Nguyên Đán welcomes the Lunar New Year and spring’s arrival.  It is Vietnam’s most important festival and public holiday.  The lunar and solar calendars are linked in Vietnam.  The former dictates the observance of festivals and rituals according to cycles of the moon. Hence, Tết dates are not fixed. The New Year starts on the first night of the first moon of the first month of the lunar calendar.

Also known as The ‘Feast of the First Morning of the First Day’, it is when the new and good replace old and bad elements.  People turn one year older as traditionally the New Year determines one’s age. Custom dictates actions and thoughts at the start of the lunar New Year influence one’s fate and prosperity for the coming 12 months.  Also high on the agenda are family reunions and paying respect to the ancestors.

One of Tết’s most important ritual is that of The Kitchen God or Ông Táo which signals the start of the Tết preparations. Legend says each home has three kitchen gods overseeing the household’s affairs. On the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, each kitchen god (Ông Táo ) returns to the Jade Emperor, the King of Heaven, on the back of a carp fish. The kitchen gods report back to the Jade Emperor on each family’s affairs for that past year, returning on New Year’s Eve.  People clean their houses and offer sacrifices in order to aid the god’s journey and ensure a good report.

We are delighted to welcome our lecturer, Professor Lê Văn Lan, noted author, historian, archaeologist, television celebrity – basically a living legend in Vietnam – who will first explain the origins and rituals of Tết. We will then participate in sending the three kitchen gods, a new set of clothes (made of paper) which will be burnt as an offering to Ông Táo.  After the offering of new clothes, everyone will have a chance to release a live fish into West Lake ‘to carry your family’s report’. This would lead to the Red river, which leads to the ocean and then to the Jade Emperor. We will then return to learn about and experience a wide range of traditional Tết foods.

The presentation will include:

  • A snapshot summary about Tết (a huge topic)
  • the legend of the Kitchen God
  • move to the lake side to burn paper offerings and release fish on the lakeside
  • return to the function room to enjoy a traditional Tết buffet meal
  • a chance to meet and chat with Vietnam’s legendary Professor

Venue:  The Hanoi Club Hotel, 76 Yen Phu street – Tay Ho district

Time:   6.30pm-9pm

Set donation: 250,000 VND pp (this includes 50,000 vnd voucher towards the cost of any soft drink or alcohol at the bar, 1 fish per person and a traditional Tết buffet)

125,000 VND for students with current ID and children under 15 years

Limit:   40

Contact:   John Reilly by emailing lefthanded2hanoi@yahoo.com

                           Please provide your mobile number when registering.

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January 17, 2020
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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