The Vietnamese people believe the Kitchen Gods (Ong Tao) begins his journey to the Heavenly Palace on the 23rd day of the last lunar month that falls on January 23 this year.

Taking a walk around the city on Kitchen God Worship Day of the Year of the Snake (2013), one can have good chances to see people everywhere releasing carps, mostly red ones, into lakes or rivers as the means of transport for them to the Heaven.

Thuy Tram Village in Tuy Loc commune, northern Phu Tho province, is well-known for its golden carps. Residents of the village raise their carps six months prior to the Tet holiday festival. It's a long wait, but the pay-off is well worth it.

Nguyen Van Hiep, a long-time red carp breeder, said the tradition has been followed in his village for more than 30 years.

Hiep owns five ponds filled with red carps. Every Tet holiday, he sells 2.5 to 3 tonnes of red carps to markets in northern provinces, helping him earn more than 200 million VND (9,400 USD).

Traders from northern areas come here to order carps two weeks prior to the start of the Kitchen God festival. This year, the wholesale price is around 110, 000 VND (5 USD) for each kilo of carp.

Around 500 out of 564 households in the village are breeding red carps for a living.

What is new this year is that residents in Hanoi can now have carps delivered to their doorstep. This is possible because they can now buy carps online.

Nguyen Thi Trang, who has a permanent office job in Hanoi, is also dabbling in the red carp business this year because her hometown is near Thuy Tram village. But since she works full time, she sells her carp online. She receives orders, and then transports the red carps from her hometown to Hanoi.

"My husband, who has his holidays earlier, can ship them around the city," she said, adding that she receives some 200 orders per day just prior to the Kitchen God festival.

"People are busy these days, and online shopping has become very popular. Why wouldn't it be the same for selling red carps?"

The price for a pair of small red carps is 30,000 VND (1.4 USD) while larger ones cost 50,000 VND (2.3 USD). Customers interested in bulk purchases enjoy free shipping.-VNA