The Kitchen God is regarded as the guardian of the family hearth (cooker). He was recognised as the originator of fire, which was necessary for cooking and was also the God of household morals. By tradition, the Kitchen God left the house on the 23rd of the last month to report to heaven on the behaviour of the family. At this time, the family did everything possible to obtain a favourable report from the Kitchen God. On the evening of the 23rd, the family would give the Kitchen God a ritualistic farewell dinner with sweet sticky foods and honey. Some said this was a bribe, others said with the offerings of sticky sweets and honey sealed his mouth from saying bad things about them.
Free from the ever-watchful eyes of the Kitchen God, who was supposed to return on the first day of the New Year, the family now prepared for the upcoming festivities.
Chinese New Year presents are similar in spirit to Christmas presents, although the Chinese tended more often to give food items, such as fruits and tea. The last days of the old year was also the time to settle accumulated debts.
The image below is the kitchen God with his Consort. It should be printed and placed above the oven or hob whichever is used most. You must renew the image every Chinese New Year.