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The Story of the Kitchen God

It's said that a rich farmer named Zhang left his devoted wife for a young, greedy mistress, and so the story of the "Kitchen God" goes.

If, for some reason, you missed New Year's you have one more chance to celebrate. Chinese New Year falls each year on the New Moon between Jan. 19 and Feb. 23 and this year it's happening on Jan. 23. It's a great day for clearing out the clutter of the last year, setting your intentions for the new year and doing activities to bring luck, love, fortune and good health.

There's a story connected to one of the Chinese New Year's traditions. It's said that a rich farmer named Zhang left his devoted wife for a young and greedy mistress. Soon the excessive indulgences of Zhang and the mistress exhausted all his wealth.

Seeing he had no more money the mistress left him and Zhang became a homeless begger. He wandered through his village so weak from starvation that one day he collapsed in front of a small house. When he awoke hours later in the garden there was a feast before him.

He ate and days passed and every morning he woke to the most wonderful food in front of him. Now feeling nourished and healthy again, and feeling such gratitude he wanted to thank his benefactor and so he snuck into the kitchen of the small house. There he recognized his wife and he was so ashamed he jumped into the hearth and fire. His wife tried in vain to douse the flames but Zhang's ashes flew up to the heavens.

It is said that this tale was told to the Jade Emperor who declared that Zhang would be “The Kitchen God.” Many Chinese families have a paper image of the kitchen god in their kitchen. A week or so before Chinese New Year they smear honey on the lips of the kitchen god so he will give a good report of them. They burn the image to send his spirit to heaven. And then on New Year's eve they hang a new image of the kitchen god to watch over the cooking and household budget for the year.

To read about what 2012 Year of the Water Dragon has in store for you check out my eBook on Amazon.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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