Hà Nội celebrates Land Genie and Kitchen God with new festival

hanoi_LHtaoquanHà Nội will hold the first ever festival honouring Ông Công (the Land Genie) and Ông Táo (the Kitchen God) on Sunday (January 3).

Early in the morning, from the famous pottery village of Bát Tràng, a procession with a 1.2mtall ceramic idol of the Land Genie, a 3.5m-long carp and 12 trays of fruits and traditional cakes will wind its away with 9 palanquins to Hà Nội and stop at the Centre for Art and Cultural Exhibition in Hoa Lư Street.

At the end of the procession, the 12 trays will be offered at the Lý Thái Tổ statue by the Sword Lake, the Ngọc Sơn temple, and the Thăng Long imperial citadel.

The festival is part of the flower fair that opened at the centre on Wednesday and will last until February 5.

It aims to celebrate the city’s craft villages and high quality agricultural products.

In Vietnamese tradition, Ông Công and Ông Táo are the most familiar and popular genies.

On the 23rd day of Lunar December, offerings are made to see off the two genies from every household to heaven.

The belief is that after they reach heaven, the genies will brief Ngọc Hoàng (the Jade Emperor) on the life of the owner of the house where they stay, and pray for luck, prosperity and happiness for all members of the household.

On New Year’s Eve, both genies will return to earth and resume their caretaking duties in the kitchen.

On the 23rd day of lunar December (which falls on this Sunday), also called the Ông Công and Ông Táo festival day, Vietnamese people release one big carp or three small ones into a nearby pond or river in order to facilitate the genies’ journey to heaven.

This custom has two meanings.

First, the carp can swim well and it will pass through Heaven’s gate to become a dragon.

Thus, Ông Công and Ông Táo can ride a carp (a dragon) to heaven.

Second, the custom relates to the release of animals from captivity – birds, fish or other creatures – as a merit-acquiring deed as well as one that brings good luck.

Source: VNS

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