Kitchen Gods and Mythical Beasts


This week, my good friend, Tanila, invited me to spend the upcoming Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival (, chun jie), with her and her family. Chinese New Year isn’t until February 4th--at least in our calendar--but because Tanila lives in Inner Mongolia, she wanted to give me enough time to plan my travel arrangements. I’ve always wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year in China, so of course I said yes! My excitement quickly spiraled into a series of questions, as I was eager to learn more about how the holiday was spent in its country of origin. As I learn more and more about the holiday, I can't wait for it to finally arrive!

What tradition did I learn about?:

The Spring Festival, more commonly known as the Chinese New Year, follows the lunar calendar, which means it follows the moon cycle. This being said, Chinese New Year is celebrated from the 23rd of December to the 15th of January in the lunar calendar.

The celebration of 祭灶 (jizao), which is celebrated on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month, is believed to foreshadow the rest of the Spring Festival. During this part of the holiday, people will offer sacrifices to the kitchen god. What is a kitchen god? Good question! The kitchen god originates from the Taoism religion and is believed to protect the hearth and the family.