Traditional culture and culture of Vietnamese people believe that, on the 23rd of December every year, Mr. Cong and Mr. Tao – the god who governs all activities of the homeowner, will fly carp flying to the heaven to report the family. The owner has done and has not done it in the past year. After reporting to the Jade Emperor, the Apple Army will return to earth on New Year’s Eve to continue the work of looking after the family fire.
One of the indispensable gifts in the worshiping ceremony for Mr. Cong and Mr. Apple on December 23 is carp. So, why a carp but not another fish or another animal?
According to cultural researchers, on 23 December the Vietnamese custom of releasing carp is due to the accumulation of carp beyond the dance and the dragon. Only carp are water-dwelling species that can leapfrog into sky and turn into dragons.
Legend has it that the carp had to pass 3 exams to become a dragon. Passing each exam, the carp will go a little closer to the sky. To pass the first post, the carp must snap their tail and jump over a high, craggy waterfall. After passing the first test, the carp’s tail changes and becomes more powerful. By the second test, carp still survived despite more intense rhymes. At this time, the carp has turned into a half dragon. After going through the 3rd test, the whole carp turned dragon.
Carp are the only means of transportation for the Apple Army to return to heaven and cannot be replaced by any other animal.
According to popular belief, in order for the Apple Army to catch up to the heavens, the common carp must be released into ponds, lakes, rivers … before noon (12 noon on December 23).
- The legend of Mr. Cong Mr. Apple