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  • Writer's picture Даосская Ассоциация России

Kitchen God灶王

Cheng Bohan

03/02/2024







Zaowang (灶王), or the Kitchen God, is a deity in traditional Chinese Daoist beliefs associated with the kitchen and household. The Kitchen God is depicted not only in a male form but also in a female goddess form.

 

In Daoism, the Kitchen God is known by various names such as “九天司命定福东厨烟主保灶护宅真君” (Jiǔ Tiān Sī Mìng Dìng Fú Dōng Chú Yān Zhǔ Bǎo Zào Hù Zhái Zhēn Jūn), abbreviated as "司命真君" (Sī Mìng Zhēn Jūn), and is also honored as “九灵元王保灶护宅天尊” (Jiǔ Líng Yuán Wáng Bǎo Zào Hù Zhái Tiān Zūn), “九天云厨监斋使者” (Jiǔ Tiān Yún Chú Jiàn Zhāi Shǐ Zhě), and “九天香厨妙供真君” (Jiǔ Tiān Xiāng Chú Miào Gòng Zhēn Jūn).

 

In China, people often worship the Kitchen God by placing offerings on the kitchen stove to pray for family safety and a bountiful harvest of food. The Kitchen God is considered the guardian deity of the kitchen and people's homes, overseeing cooking and food matters within the household. According to traditional beliefs, the Kitchen God's day is celebrated on the twenty-fourth day of the lunar twelfth month. While officials, royals, and religious figures celebrate on the twenty-third, ordinary civilians celebrate the Kitchen God's day on the twenty-fourth. On this day, families conduct ritual ceremonies, offering various foods, fruits, candies, and other items as a gesture of gratitude and to seek the Kitchen God’s blessings. And the Kitchen God will arrive back home on the Forth day of the First Month in Chinese Lunar Calendar.

 

After the Han Dynasty, the Kitchen God, known as "灶君" (Zaojun), became one of the Five Offerings Deities, along with the God of Fate, the God of Travel, Door Gods, and the House God—司命、行神、门神、户神.

 

The Kitchen God served as a divine overseer of households, responsible for monitoring human transgressions and controlling life, death, blessings, and misfortunes. In folk beliefs, it is thought that the Kitchen God returns to the heavenly court on his day to report to the Jade Emperor on the good and evil deeds of every household.

 

Therefore, on the Kitchen God's Day, people often offer sweets and candies to the Kitchen God, hoping he can speak sweet words to the Jade Emperor. This is done in the hope that the Kitchen God will speak favorably on behalf of the family in heaven, bringing good fortune and averting calamities.

 

The customs related to the worship of the Kitchen God may vary in different regions, but overall, the Kitchen God is a deity deeply rooted in Chinese traditional culture, symbolizing the importance of food and domestic harmony. This belief reflects the cultural significance attached to the preparation of meals and the well-being of the family.

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