Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Feast of the Kitchen God (Little Chinese New Year)

Image via Dragon Myths

Happy Chinese New Year! (It was actually yesterday, but what the heck.) We're now in the year of the Water Dragon. I hear it's a good year for having babies and getting married - both of which I plan to do by year's end.

This past Friday, Matt and I celebrated what is sometimes called Little New Year by the Chinese aka the Feast of the Kitchen God. It's part of my whole start-traditions-now-that-we're-having-a-baby deal. We're going to be celebrating select holidays from around the world throughout the year - one for each month.

Zao Jun, the Kitchen God - Image via Wikipedia

For January, I chose the Feast of the Kitchen God mostly because Matt LOVES food and cooking and anything related to it (just one reason he's so excellent at being Head of Gourmet at World Market) and the celebration is supposed to be led by the "man of the house." And you're supposed to go out to eat to give the god the night off, which just sounds like a great way to celebrate anything.

In the Chinese tradition, the Kitchen God watches over the kitchen of the family all year, watching to see who's naughty & who's nice. The feast celebrates his going to heaven to report on what he's seen & is also an opportunity to convince him to say nice things about the family.

Since this is our first time celebrating the feast, we didn't have a picture up all year, but Matt hung one up across from the stove. Then he put an offering of sweet stuff out, covered it in honey, and augmented it with candles.

They burned while we went out with our roomie and some friends to eat at a local buffet. After we stuffed our faces for about an hour, we came home. The three of us who live in the apartment "fed" the offering to the image, smearing honey on his lips so he'll say sweet things.

Then we burnt the image out on the porch, which symbolically sent him up to heaven.

We all agreed that burning stuff is a great way to celebrate and should be done more often.

The next random holiday we'll be celebrating is a Roman holiday called Terminalia, which honors the boundaries of home and land.

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1 comment:

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