Journal of Vietnamese Studies

Research Essay

Popular Culture, Social Knowledge and Folk Beliefs in Vietnam


One of the most important aspects of spiritual life in Vietnam is the belief in the “Kitchen God,” Ông Táo or Táo Quân. In this paper we outline the nature of this belief and the ritual associated with it that occurs a week before Tết, the lunar new year, when the Kitchen God returns to heaven. This ritual facilitates the family’s transition to the New Year and enables reflection on the previous one. We then turn to another Tết event with a similar but more general purpose, the popular annual TV comedy show based on the Kitchen God, called Meeting Each Other at Year’s End [Gặp Nhau Cuối Năm]. This comedy show deals with a wide variety of controversial issues… Read more.

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Journal of Vietnamese Studies: 10 (3)

Vol. 10 No. 3
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ISSN: 1559-372X
eISSN: 1559-3738
Frequency: Quarterly
Published: February, May, August, November


About the Journal

Journal of Vietnamese Studies promotes and publishes original social science and humanities research about Vietnamese history, politics, culture and society, as well as Vietnam-related topics that have traditionally been set apart from mainstream area studies scholarship such as the Vietnamese diaspora and the Vietnam War. In addition to full-length research articles, the Journal of Vietnamese Studies includes book reviews, communications with the editor, and occasionally also translations of important Vietnamese language documents and texts. Additionally, a regular section reserved for book reviews and longer review essays serves to provide a running diagnosis of the state of the field and to establish an arena for deliberation, conversation and debate about both new work and significant intellectual trends within Vietnamese studies as a whole.