The Ceremony of the End of Tet Holiday

Meaning

On January 3rd (or 4th), Vietnamese people organize the Ceremony of the End of Tet Holiday (Vietnamese: Cúng Tất). The ceremony is to mark the Tet Holiday ending and to see off ancestors and the souls of the relatives to the invisible world. The ceremony also shows gratitude and respect of offspring for the ancestors.

Preparing

The offerings of the Ceremony of the End of Tet Holiday include lights, incense, alcohol, tea, flowers, watermelons, square glutinous rice cakes (in North Vietnam) or cylindric glutinous rice cakes (in South Vietnam), jam, paper cakes, and the foods are made from pork, chicken and duck meat. The offerings are divided into several trays. Besides the trays are for the ancestor and relatives’ souls, there are trays for the Kitchen Gods, the Earth God, the God of Wealth, lonely souls. The tray for lonely souls is placed in the yard.

Process

Completing the table setting, the homeowner burns incense and goes to each tray to invite the gods, the ancestor, the souls of relatives and lonely souls to enjoy the meal. During the ceremony, the homeowner pours alcohol 3 times and pours tea water 1 time. At the end of the ceremony, the homeowner prays and burns votive to see off the ancestor coming back to the invisible world where they are living. The ceremony ends, every member of the family gathers to eat, drink together happily. Therefore, family solidarity is consolidated.

 

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