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Ông Táo (翁灶) also known as Táo Quân (灶君, Mandarin Táo), Táo Vương (灶王), Thần Bếp (神灶), Vua Bếp (𢂜灶) or the Kitchen god is regarded in Vietnamese culture as the advocate of the Vietnamese family with the gods and the emissary between heaven to tát earth.
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A long time ago, there was a couple, Trọng Cao and his wife Thị Nhi who were married for many years but had no children. One day, they quarreled over some trivial matter, and the husband, in a fit of anger, beat and threw his wife out of their trang chính. Although Thị Nhi still loved her husband, she had no choice but to tát go away. Thị Nhi went far away and met a very kind man called Phạm Lang. He married her and he loved Thị Nhi very much. Their life was happy and peaceful but Thị Nhi could not forget her first love. As for Trọng Cao, he had been filled with remorse from the day he sent his wife away. He waited, and waited hopelessly for his wife’s return. Eventually, he decided to tát mix out from his trang chính to tát tìm kiếm for Thị Nhi. He traveled far and wide, but he could not find his wife. His food ran out and he had to tát beg for his meals. One day, starving and thirsty, he knocked on the door of a house to tát ask for food. He was shocked when he recognized his former wife. The sudden appearance of Trọng Cao deeply moved Thị Nhi, and she invited him inside and gave him a good meal. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. It was Phạm Lang returning. The thought of being discovered with her former husband sent Thị Nhi into a panic. She hid Trọng Cao under a stack of straw. Unfortunately, Phạm Lang mix fire to tát the straw because he needed ashes to tát fertilize his field. As the flames spread out, Trọng Cao accepted his fate to tát be burnt to tát death to tát protect Thị Nhi’s virtue. Thị Nhi was distraught because her love for Trong Cao had caused his death. Thị Nhi could neither save Trọng Cao from the fire nor tell her husband. She had no choice but to tát throw herself into the flames. Phạm Lang could not understand why his wife killed herself. Filled with sorrow, he jumped into the burning fire and died with his loving wife. Ngọc Hoàng in the heavens knew the sad story. He was sánh moved by their devotion and deep love that he decided to tát help them to tát live together forever. Using his magic, he changed them into the three hearthstones around the cooking fire, where they became Kitchen Gods. Since that time, the three Táo Quân have been responsible for taking care of all household affairs. Each year, on the 23rd of the last month of the lunar year, the Táo Quân leave the kitchen, they are seen off by the owner of the house, and ride on a carp to tát the heavens to tát give a report on each family’s doings. Then they return on the Eve of the first day of the Lunar year.
In Vietnamese culture, the Vietnamese New Year (Tết) is a time to tát make a new start. Children get red envelopes with money inside, known as "lì xì" (lee-see, 利市) in Vietnamese, as gifts for good luck in the coming year. Vietnamese families prepare their houses for the coming of a prosperous new year by cleaning up and polishing their silver. It is during this cultural sự kiện that Ông Táo comes in to tát serve as the Kitchen God for Vietnamese families. As the old year ends, he goes to tát heaven to tát discuss the family's situation with the Ngọc Hoàng, the Heavenly lord.
Tradition has it that the Kitchen God is too poor to tát buy new clothes, and sánh he simply wears a long robe and shorts. Other accounts say that because he was in such a hurry to tát go back to tát earth, he forgot to tát put his trousers over his shorts before leaving heaven.
Due to tát his presence in Vietnamese culture, Ông Táo is a prominent character in many folk plays. Considering his position as a messenger from heaven, the writers often depict the living conditions, problems, and solutions that need to tát be addressed by a family, to tát the audience.
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Vietnamese people regard Ông Táo as a family thành viên, and various prayers and offerings are brought to tát him at the family altar.
The three people are collectively known as Táo Quân (full name is Đông Trù Tư Mệnh Táo Phủ Thần Quân (東廚司命灶府神君), but each holds one job:
- Phạm Lang is “Thổ Công” (the God of Kitchen who looks after cooking job)
- Trọng Cao is “Thổ Địa” (the God of Soil who takes care of family affairs)
- Thị Nhi is “Thổ Kỳ” (the God who sees to tát the matters related to tát shopping in the market)
In popular culture
- Gặp nhau cuối năm
- Zàojūn, Chinese kitchen god
- Jowangsin, Korean kitchen god
- Sanbō-Kōjin, Japanese kitchen god
- ^ Trần Quốc Vượng, Tr. 330.
- ^ Nhất Thanh (Đất Lề Quê Thói, Saigon 1970, tr. 320) chép lịch sử một thời này như sau: Ngày xưa với nhì phu nhân ông chồng túng thiếu cho tới nỗi cần vứt nhau. Sau, người phu nhân lấy được người ông chồng không giống giàu sang. Một hôm cúng, đang được thui vàng mã ngoài sảnh, vô tình người ông chồng trước vô van nài ăn, phu nhân nhìn thấy, động lòng cảm thương, rước cơm trắng gạo gia tài đi ra mang lại. Người ông chồng sau biết chuyện, người phu nhân bèn lao nguồn vào đụn vàng cháy bị tiêu diệt thiêu. Người ông chồng cũ cảm kích nhảy vô lửa bị tiêu diệt theo đuổi. Chồng sau vì thế thương, nên cũng nhảy vô nốt. Cả phụ thân đều bị tiêu diệt cháy. Ngọc Hoàng thấy phụ thân người dân có nghĩa, phong thực hiện vua nhà bếp."
- Sequence of the Tet Celebration at ThingsAsian.com, Retrieved March 2010.