The ritual of worshiping Mr. Cong Ong Tao


The worshiping ceremony of Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao is carried out from December 17 to 23, the offering depends on each family but must have 3 sets of hats, shoes and carp.

The worshiping ceremony of the Tao Quan is associated with the legend of the Tao with many versions. The related ancient books all claim that this custom originates from the custom of worshiping “Ngu Tu”, to pay wages to 5 gods in the family: God Gate (Mon god), God Gate (Ho god), god Window (The god of the middle class), the god of the kitchen (the god of apples) and the god of the way in the house (the god of the gods).

Another theory says that “Ngu Tu” consists of 5 people: God of Kitchen (God of Apple), God of Well (Tinh Than), god of Door (Mon god), god of House (Hou god), god of Window (middle-level god) or 5 Gods: God of Kitchen (God of Apple), God of Earth (Tho Gong), Ancestor of a profession (Fairy of Master), God of Doors (Mon house of Guardians), god of protection of human and livestock health (animal medicine man). .

Among the 5 family gods, Tao Quan, Tho Dia and Mon god are most commonly worshiped; Tao Quan is considered to be the main god of blessings in the family with the name “Dong Tru Tu par Tao Phu Than Quan”, abbreviated as Tao Quan.

Ceremony to worship Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao of a family in Chuong My, Hanoi, in 2021. Photo: Gia Chinh

In “Treasure of Vietnamese fairy tales” by Nguyen Dong Chi, the story of the three vegetable chefs talks about the origin of the “king of the kitchen, two men and one woman” including his wife Thi Nhi (Nhi means nutty, ripe), the previous husband is Trong Cao (Cao means sombre). starch, referring to rice) and the latter’s husband is Pham Lang (Lang also has the pronunciation Canh – soup).

When “rice is not healthy, soup is not sweet”, the three of them met with tragedy and had to suffer the unlucky and dirty fate of the three vegetable heads. They embody the family fire that is always cozy. Perhaps from this meaning, people call Tao Quan as the god of fortune, in charge of personnel in the family.

Since then, every year on the 23rd of December, families have a ceremony to see off the Tao Quan to the Jade Emperor, called the New Year of the Tao Quan. Gradually, there are places where the worshiping ceremony is held on three different days. The king and mandarins worship on the 23rd, the people worship on the 24th, and the fishermen and fishermen worship on the 25th.

Recently, due to not having enough time to serve on the 23rd, it is possible to worship the Tao Quan from the 17th to the 23rd of December.

What do you need for the feast of Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao?

The offerings to Tao Quan mainly depend on the conditions of each family, popular are sticky rice, rice soup, water wine, votive paper, betel nut, chicken, pork and fruit… A special must-have 3 sets of hats and comedies; one or three carp (live fish or votive paper) to make “horses” to bring the Tao Quan to heaven.

In the 1990s and earlier, in the North, many families, regardless of the amount of the gift, always tried to have a plate of sweets (honey cake, malt candy, peanut candy, sesame candy, candy candies…) or a bowl of molasses. According to folklore, when the Tao Quan returns to the Jade Emperor, he needs to “sweet” to report good things about his family, and pray for the Jade Emperor to bless his family in the new year.

In some localities in the North Central region such as Tho Xuan and Cam Thuy (Thanh Hoa), the offerings to the Tao Quan do not use soup, because the three Taoists (three men with the heads of vegetables) are covered with clay, making the offerings to make the gods. Apple army “swollen” legs. Folk stories here say that, in the past, there was a family due to laziness, so they were poor, all year round there was nothing to eat, at the end of the year there was nothing to offer to the Tao Quan. On the 23rd of December, the owner of the house went to the neighbor to ask for water to boil the legs of the pig to worship the Tao Quan, causing him to become soggy (edema), so the people of some communes in the area abstain from serving the soup in the tray of worshiping the Tao Quan.

According to the book”Vietnamese customs” of Phan Ke Binh, the necessary offerings in the worshiping ceremony of the Tao Quan include: “Buy two hats of Mr.

Folklore researcher Nguyen Hung Vi, Hanoi National University, said that the custom of worshiping the Tao Quan in our country is basically unified, in terms of concepts, rituals, offerings and literature, there is only one There are several differentiating factors in the story of Ong Tao, which is an attribute of folklore.

A tray of offerings to Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao at a young family in Hanoi.  Photo: Bui Thuy

A tray of offerings to Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao at a young family in Hanoi. Photo: Bui Thuy

When is the time to worship the Apple Army?

The worshiping ceremony of the Tao Quan has been fixed on December 23 every year, no need to choose a time, just finish the worship before 23 o’clock.

The householder should pray Nom himself (voting in the national language – Vietnamese, instead of the Chinese characters) because Mr. Tao is the god in the house, no need to rehearse. Van vows are the farewells, confidants and wishes of the homeowner to the Tao Quan before he departs for heaven to pay homage to the Jade Emperor.

Things to pay attention to in the worshiping ceremony of Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao

The owner of the house when worshiping the Tao Quan must sincerely review the mistakes and bad things committed during the year, which have happened in the family; Review, repent, promise to make amends for mistakes and beg the Tao Quan to report only good things, hope the Jade Emperor blesses the family.

In the past, many families when worshiping the Tao Quan called all their children and grandchildren to listen to their vows, to reflect with their parents, to repent and to strive and cultivate in the new year. Or during the meal after worshiping the Tao Quan, grandparents and parents recount the story of the Tao Quan and instruct their children and grandchildren to live in virtue, to be obedient, not to do bad deeds, and to be honest. This is the most important point in the worshiping ceremony of the Tao Quan because it is educational and has a profound sense of goodwill.

Release the carp into the river after the worshiping ceremony so that Mr. Tao can take the vehicle to the sky to report.  People often release fish in the river because the river will flow into the big sea;  and ponds, lakes are places where standing water is less chosen.  Photo: Gia Chinh

Release the carp into the river after the worshiping ceremony with the mind that Mr. Tao can take the “vehicle” to report to the sky. People often release fish in the river because the river will flow into the big sea; and ponds, lakes are places where standing water is less chosen. Photo: Gia Chinh

The annual Nom ceremony of the Year of the Lord (refer)

After performing the ceremony, burning incense and making vows as follows:

Hail to you, the Dong Tru native of the Tao Palace, Than Quan!

Respect to you, the god of the land, the god of the land, the five of the gods of the earth, the five of the gods of the earth, the god of the gods, the god of the gods!

The child leader is 🙁names of grandparents, parents, children…) peerage.

Today is the day that Dong Tru ordered the Tao government to return to heaven to serve the Jade Emperor. Our lords sincerely fix incense, flowers, products, clothes, hats, rituals, make offerings to the court, make offerings to the gods, burn incense sticks to pay homage.

We cordially invite:

Mr. Dong Tru was ordered to come down before the court to enjoy the gifts.

You are cordially invited to join the local family god, the god emperor of the native land, the five directions of the five lore of the dragon veins of the fortune, the five of the earth of the blessings of the right god, the god of the gods to sit and enjoy the offerings.

Obeying the old custom, Mr. Dong Tru ordered the god of the palace to be the master of the Ngu Tu Temple. I beg you to examine the world’s heart, grant blessings. In the year our family has made mistakes and mistakes, please respect the god family for forgiveness (Here the homeowner can reveal the good and bad things of the family, admit mistakes, repent, promise to amend). He returned to heaven to pay homage to the Jade Emperor, asking the Jade Emperor to bless and bless our family, boys and girls, young and old, to be safe and healthy!

We would like to express our sincere heart. Pray to the gods to testify!

Beware, enjoy!

Cultural researcher Pham Dinh Hai

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