Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Money to Burn
One of the hottest Tet traditions is the burning shrines. Each family puts together a small shrine in honor of their dead ancestors. Each shrine is outfitted with gifts for these ancestors. Popular gifts include money, whole cooked chickens, flowers, candy, fruit, paper warrior's armor and paper horses (to represent the real things)...basically any and everything. The shrines are set up outside of the family home or family business (often the same place). At midnight, little Vietnamese children scatter rice in front of their entryways. Then, the gifts are burned. Traveling on the smoke of the fire, the gifts reach the ancestors up in the heavens.