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The Kitchen God is assigned by Yu Huang, the emperor of heaven, to watch over each family and record what they do throughout the year. A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen.
Each year during Chinese New Year, the Kitchen God returns to heaven to report on what the family has done throughout the year.
The family has a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God's mouth is full of glutinous rice, he will not be able to speak about the family's activities. Others give glutinous rice balls served in sugar soup and brown sugar bars as a bribe for the Kitchen God to say favorable things about the family.
After the thank you dinner, the picture of the Kitchen God is burned and thereby sent back to heaven. A new picture of the Kitchen God is hung in the kitchen after the start of Chinese New Year festivities.