THE KITCHEN GOD
About a week before the lunar New Year, on the twenty-third of the twelfth lunar month, the God of the Kitchen is transported to the Jade Emperor by a carp to report on the family's business during the previous year. The Kitchen God is considered the soul of a Vietnamese family, and the stove is where all is seen and heard. To encourage a good report, Vietnamese people offer him a sacrifice and burn his image on papers to send his spirit to the heavens.
THE ORIGIN OF TAO QUAN, THE THREE KITCHEN GODS
Long, long ago, in a forest lived a woodcutter and his wife. They were very poor, and the man became a drunkard. He usually destroyed the furniture and beat her. One day, no longer bearing it, she left him.
After having wandered in the forest for weeks, she met a hunter who was an honest man. He gave her food and allowed her to stay in his home. She helped him to look after the house, and then, after some time, they were married. They lived happily together, and it seemed that the woman had forgot her previous marriage.
One day, while the hunter was hunting in the forest, a beggar came to his door and asked his wife for food. Suddenly, they recognized each other, and shared many things happening during the time they lived apart. They were talking when the woman heard the steps of her returning husband. They became panic, and quickly she hid the former husband under a haycock.
As soon as the hunter arrived home, he prepared to roast his game in the haycock without knowing that the beggar was in it. When the haycock caught fire, the poor woman was torn with grief. She realized that her former husband was meeting death for her sake and that she did not want. Hesitating for no longer than a moment, she threw herself into the fire in order to die with him.
The hunter cried out in dismay when he saw what his wife had done. He tried to pull her back but was unable to do so. Thinking that his doing had driven her to such desperation, he also jumped into fire, preferring dying with her to living without her.
When the Emperor of Jade learned of this touching story, he was moved and deified them the Three Kitchen Gods, who would take care of the family affairs. Every year, one must report what have happened in the family to the Jade Emperor.