God of Wealth and how the Vietnamese express their gratitude to him
Vietnam is an East Asian country that worships many Gods. Among them, at the end of the Tet holiday, we gonna celebrate one of the great Gods – the God of Wealth.
The history of God of Wealth
God of Wealth, called Caishen, is the Chinese god of prosperity worshipped not only in China but also in other Asian cultures such as Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and so on. The custom of worshiping God of Wealth originated in China, then appeared in Vietnam in the early 20th century. There are many oral stories to explain this custom.
Who is the God of Wealth in China
The Chinese suppose that the Caishen arose first in China. According to an old legend, a Chinese merchant named Au Minh happened to meet the Water Deity while passing through Thanh Thao Lake. The Deity gave this man a servant named Nhu Nguyen. Au Minh brought Nhu Nguyen to his home. Since then, the business of Au Minh was prosperous day by day.
Nonetheless, on one New Year day, Au Minh beat Nhu Nguyen. Nhu Nguyen was so scared that he hid in the garbage dump and suddenly disappeared. From then on, Au Minh had been making more and more losses. After that, people assumed that Nhu Nguyen is a God of Wealth and made him an altar. According to this classic reference, during the 3 days of Tet, the family avoid sweeping houses and taking out the garbage because they are afraid of losing the God of Wealth still hiding in the garbage dump.
What Vietnamese people know about their God of Wealth
The Vietnamese think that God of Wealth used to be in heaven. Once due to drinking too much, he fell into this world and lost his memory. He started to go begging for daily survival.
Accidentally, he met a nice owner of an eatery and was invited to come and have a hearty meal. The shop was having a very few customers, but when the old man entered, suddenly the visitors came in and out crowdedly. Noticing that, this owner kept the begging man to stay so that the business can be enhanced.
After a while, the old beggar began to remember everything and returned to heaven. The day he flew back to the sky was the 10th day. So that Vietnamese ancestors considered the 10th day each month as the day of the God of Wealth. Moreover, on the 10th day of the first lunar month, people will do the first God of Wealth worship of the year. On this day, the families of business pray for a new year full of fortune and money.
What people do on the God of Wealth worship
Clean the altar
In Vietnam, God of Wealth usually goes with the Earth God. Each of them controls for 5 other Gods, who manage different directions of the houses. On daily life, people prefer the Earth God to the God of Wealth. However, during the Tet holiday, the latter’s role is more important. They start to decorate the house and prepare for him the best.
The altar of the two Gods is a small mosaic of gold lacquer with small ceramic statues of them. In front of those, there is an incense bowl laid on a golden paper tray. Two sides of the incense bowl are two small lamps, one tray consists of 3 cups of water and 2 cups of wine. What is more, a vase should be on the right side and the fruit plate on the other side. The owners can buy whatever kind of flower they like except for the artificial ones. Last but not least, they will not change three jars of rice, salt, and water until the end of the year.
In order for the worship of the day of the God of Wealth to be smooth, good, the owner should clean the altar clearly. This activity should be done daily but during the day Caishen’s day, it needs to be better completed.
Go shopping for offerings
It is really important to follow the rituals of worshiping the God of Wealth properly. To show owners’ sincerity so that God can protect and bless the families to have a prosperous year.
Along with statues and other objects prepared every day, on this most important day, the Vietnamese have to get ready with some more offerings. The first thing they need is the five-fruit tray, usually includes custard-apple (cau), fig (sung), coconut (dua), papaya (du), and mango (xoai), represents for the wish of the whole family that Cau sung vua du xai. This shows their wish for a year full of wealthy and great affluence.
One more thing that should not be absent is the joss paper. According to the folklore, if you want to send something to people in “another world”, you have to burn it up. That’s why they use the joss paper of clothes and money to make it easier to send to God.
Additionally, to say thank you to the God of Wealth that helped them handle the business, those family have to make a table full of dishes that he supposes to like. They include a grilled snakehead fish, boiled eggs, boiled shrimps and a pack of roast pork. God also likes mungbean sticky rice, betel, and areca so they are indispensable on this event.
What to buy for good luck
On this day, families who worship God of Wealth, especially those doing business, pay great attention to the offerings to worship a new year with many lucks. The gold market and items for worshiping God Caishen would be very fluctuating. In the Vietnamese mindset, gold is a way to invest and save money, so people consider buying gold on the new year days as insurance as well.
Besides, the gold buyers now are not only in the business and trading industry but also in other people such as officers. According to professional gold investors, during Caishen’s day, people do not need to buy a great weight of gold but should prefer products contain mainly from half a mace to 5 maces.
In addition, people choose the figurines of the God of Wealth with words like Phuc (Happiness), Loc (Prosperity), Tai (Wealth) and Tho (Longevity) written on them. The gold companies have also launched a variety of other items featuring the pig since it is now the Year of the Pig.
We are going to have our first God of Wealth worship this year on 14th February. Therefore, if you want to wish for fortune and prosperity, don’t hesitate to come with us. You will not regret spending your time on one of the most important days in Vietnam.