When I was growing up, one of my favorite Tết traditions was when we would gather in the backyard and burn fake money so we could “Đưa Ông Táo về trời” (“Send the Kitchen God home to heaven”). It was always funny to me that even spirits needed cash in order to fly home (gods, they’re just like us!). I was thinking of Ông Táo lately as I’m sitting in my New York apartment, across the country from my parents. This year, many of us are unable to go home and gather with our loved ones, making this Tết more melancholy than years past. But as we leave the Year of the Rat behind (good riddance), I am grateful for the community that we’ve built here at VietFactCheck: A community of people passionate about truth and dialogue, and willing to have tough conversations even when it hurts. So for this year, I wish you all good health and fast vaccinations, enough money to weather any instability, and peace both in your life and in your mind. I can’t send you any lì xì, but I will be thinking of all of you as I’m sending my own NYC kitchen god home. Chúc mừng năm mới!
Managing Editor, VietFactCheck”