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Saigon family reveres God of Wealth

By Quynh Tran   February 10, 2022 | 12:47 am PT
Nguyen Thi No went to the market early to buy flowers, grilled fish and other items later offered to the God of Wealth, hoping to strike it rich this year.
No heads to the market at 5 a.m. to buy offerings for the God of Wealth Day (Caishen Day or Than Tai in Vietnamese).She explains that because she works as a wholesale vegetable seller at Ba Queo Market, she would first go to a nearby stall to buy flowers and fruits after delivering the goods.  She buys gerbera daisies (hoa dong tien, meaning money flower in Vietnamese), wishing it would bring her  good fortune on this special day.The God of Wealth, worshipped by many families on the 10th day of the first lunar month (Feb. 10 this year), is believed to control money and finance. People, especially families doing business, pray to Him for wealth and luck for the whole year.

No heads to the market at 5 a.m. to buy offerings for the God of Wealth Day (Caishen Day or Than Tai in Vietnamese).
She explains that because she works as a wholesale vegetable seller at Ba Queo Market, she would first go to a nearby stall to buy flowers and fruits after delivering the goods. She buys gerbera daisies (hoa dong tien, meaning money flower in Vietnamese), hoping it would bring her good fortune on this special day.
The God of Wealth, worshipped by families on the tenth day of the lunar year (Feb. 10 this year), is believed to bring good fortune to their business and family through the year.

The 58-year-old purchases votive paper set worth VND30,000 ($1.32) to offer to the deity.

The 58-year-old purchases a votive paper set worth VND30,000 ($1.32) to offer the deity.

After selecting votive papers, flowers, and fruits, she also buys snakehead fish, an essential offering for many Saigon residents on this day, on a street in Tan Phu Disitrct that is famous for making grilled fish.To worship Him, you must offer a whole fish without scraping off the scales or removing the tail, she elaborated. The fish here is beautifully grilled and tastes better than in many other places.

After selecting votive paper, flowers, and fruits, she also buys snakehead fish, an essential offering for many Saigon residents on this day, on a street in Tan Phu Disitrct famed for grilling fish.
"You must offer a whole fish without scraping off the scales or removing the tail," she elaborated. "The fish here is beautifully grilled and tastes better than in many other places."

On her way back, she also stopped at a familiar shop on Truong Chinh Street to buy roast pork.Roasted pork is also one of the three must-have offerings for southern families, which includes pieces of pork, shrimp (or crab), and duck eggs.

On her way back, she also stopped at a familiar shop on Truong Chinh Street to buy roasted pork.
Roasted pork is amongthe three "must-have" offerings for southern families, which includes pieces of pork, shrimp (or crab), and duck eggs.

At 6 a.m., she heads back to her home in District 12 to prepare the offerings.

At 6 a.m., she heads back to her home in District 12 to prepare the offerings.

She washes the stautes of Than Tai (God of Wealth) and Ong Dia (The Spirit of Earth) with white wine before setting up the offering tray. I clean the altar frequently, hoping they would bless me even more, she explained.

She "washes" the stautes of Than Tai (God of Wealth) and Ong Dia (The Spirit of Earth) with white wine before setting up the offering tray. "I clean the altar frequently, hoping they would bless me even more," she explained.

Aside from purchasing rituals for worship offering, many people like No also purchase gold on this day. She frequently purchases gold a few days before the God of Fortune Day.Buying gold on this day used to be a tradition only among businesspeople, especially ethnic Chinese, but in the last few years it has been embraced by the wider population in Hanoi and HCMC.

Aside from purchasing ritual offerings, many people like No also buy gold on this day. She frequently purchases gold a few days before the God of Fortune Day.
Buying gold on this day used to be a tradition only among businesspeople, especially ethnic Chinese, but in the last few years it has been embraced by the wider population in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

In the south, when people pray to Him, they usually make offerings of fruit, flowers, votive paper, incense, grilled meat and, unfailingly, grilled snakehead fish.

In the south, people usually make offerings of fruit, flowers, votive paper, incense, grilled meat and, unfailingly, grilled snakehead fish.

She sends her prayers at around 7 a.m. The ritual is straightforward, taking place less than five minutes before 9 a.m. Worshippers frequently pray for a year of good business and great fortune.

She sends her prayers at around 7 a.m. The ritual is straightforward, taking less than five minutes before 9 a.m.
Worshippers frequently pray for a year of good business and great fortune.

No heads to the front of her house after the incense has faded to burn votive papers, the final stage of ceremony. Last year, the outbreak was so severe that I desired nothing more than to be healthy. Since I am a businesswoman, this year I wish for plenty of money and a prosperous life, she revealed.

No heads to the front of her house after the incense has faded to burn votive papers, the final stage of ceremony.
"Last year, the outbreak was so severe that I wished for nothing more than to be healthy. Since I am a businesswoman, this year I wish for plenty of money and a prosperous life," she revealed.

 
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