Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tsun Kwan - the Kitchen God

You can find all our posts on Chinese New Year HERE
With one week left until New Year, it is time to say good bye to the Kitchen God, Master of the Household. Placed above the stove, the Chinese believe that the Kitchen God watches their actions throughout the year, in order to report on their behavior to the Jade Emperor in heaven. If the report is unfavorable, the family will be plagued with bad luck in the coming year.

To honor the Kitchen God, he is offered sweet foods and/or Nian Gao, which are glutinous rice cakes. Sweet foods, such as a smear of honey to his lips, are a bribe, in hopes of "sweetening" his report to the Jade Emperor. The stickiness of the glutinous rice cakes is intended to stick his jaw shut, denying him the opportunity to give a negative report. After the offerings of food, his picture is burnt, and through the smoke, he rises up to the heavens to meet with the Jade Emperor.

Wood blocks of the Kitchen God (also known as Stove God) can be found here
I found a printable image of the Kitchen God here through Activity Village. 

Elle colored the picture and it has been hanging over our stove for a couple of weeks. I suppose it may not be a concise report :) to the Jade Emperor for this past year, however we will replace it on New Year's day for the rest of this year.

We made Nian Gao, set it before Tsun Kwan and smeared his lips with honey. We set the picture on fire, and watched it burn, the girls mesmerized.  

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