The Xiao Nian Festival (Little New Year) or the Kitchen God Festival occurs on the 23rd, 24th, or 25th day of the 12th month in the lunar calendar — approximated a week before the Chinese New Year. The date varies depending on the region.
On this day the Kitchen God reports to the Jade Emperor in Heaven about the family. Incense and candles are lit around the house. Sticky sweets are left for the Kitchen God, usually on an alter or shrine. The stickier the candy the better, so the god’s mouth sticks closed and he can’t speak poorly of the family. According to custom, men must leave the sweets. To send the god on his way, his picture is taken outside and burned.
This is also the time when the home and yard is cleaned to make ready for the New Year. After the cleaning is done, homes are decorated in red papercuts and posters, and fresh flowers.
This festival is also celebrated in Vietnam.