Hanoi market makes Tet rituals easier

Thanh Nien News

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It sells everything needed for the offerings tray to propitiate the gods and ancestors

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The food market on Hang Be Street in Hoan Kiem District, selling ready-to-eat items like sticky rice cakes, boiled chickens with flowers on top, and steamed sticky rice on a plate is exceedingly crowded these days as people prepare Lunar New Year offerings to gods and ancestors. Vendors here guarantee fine quality as they charge two or three times more than in other places in the capital to be dubbed “rich people's market.”  Photos: Quy Doan/VnExpress
 
Boiled chickens are sold for around VND230,000 a kilogram, more expensive than normal, but they are still favored by many people thanks to their top quality. Lunar New Year rituals start on the 23rd day of the last lunar month, or February 1 this year, as people make big offerings to send their kitchen gods to heaven to report on the family's activities during the year. 

This sticky rice and sweet bean soup shop is busy all day. There is usually no bargaining since all the customers are regulars and trust the promise of fine quality. Many people say the market saves them a lot of time they otherwise have to spend to prepare a proper offerings tray.

A beef shop offers dry and sausage versions for the holiday.  

 Vegetables are best sellers at the market.
Pomelos, a popular offering in Vietnamese altars, cost VND70,000 apiece. 

Buddha’s hand, a citrus fruit popular in East Asia, is among the favorite offerings for the religious connotation of its shape. Each costs around VND250,000.

The market, like almost all across Vietnam, sells live carp on the Kitchen God’s Day to give the god a ride to heaven. The Kitchen God’s Day is held on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month.

A shop sells votive clothes for the gods and areca nut, a traditional offering in northern Vietnam.

A shop selling flowers for decoration and various kinds of leaves for cooking traditional foods during Tet, which falls on February 8 this year and is the most important festival in Vietnam.

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