There is no busier time than Tết for Thủy Trầm Village in northern Phú Thọ Province as the year comes to an end. It is a time of high demand for the village’s famous produce, golden carp.
On the 23rd day of the last month of the year, Vietnamese families hold a send-off ceremony for the ông Công ông Táo, the genies found in every Vietnamese home. Special offerings are made at New Year. Among other things, golden carp are indispensable.
After prayers are finished, the carp are released into a large body of water, usually lakes, but preferably streams or rivers.
While commonly known as the gods of the kitchen, ông Công ông Táo is composed of three separate genies, who are in charge of the land, the fireplace and the house. It is believed that at New Year they ascend to the Heaven to report on the good and bad deeds that happened in the house during the year.
The carp will serve as their mean of transportation and therefore, must be healthy and looking their best.
Nguyễn Văn Đạt, a villager his family had been raising carp for three generations. Đạt learned the trade from his grandfather and his father before taking over the family business. When Tết arrives, business blooms as large numbers of carp are ordered from all over the region.
A boy from Thủy Trầm Village holds a carp. The carp can grow to 2-3kg in weight.
Golden carp weigh about 300-500 grams after six months.
A school of carp released into a freshwater tank.
Young fish being prepared for release into a pond.
Young carp cling together in a pond.