Choosing the Right Rooster to Light the Incense: Connecting Spirits and Nurturing Growth in Hens

In Vietnamese culture, offering a chicken as a worshiping ritual is a common practice, especially during important ceremonies. However, many people are still uncertain about the proper way to offer a chicken.


During important holidays, Vietnamese people often buy roosters to offer as an incense, especially during Lunar New Year, the 1st and 15th day of the lunar month, and other occasions such as housewarming ceremonies, praying for children, and ancestral worship…

Many people usually choose male roosters for the incense offering, and male roosters are usually more expensive than female ones. However, nowadays, many poultry businesses sell both male and female chickens for worship on the 1st and 15th day of the lunar month. So why is that?

What is the difference in meaning between male and female chickens?

Both are chickens, but male chickens crow while female chickens do not. In folklore, the crow of the rooster is considered the call of the sun god, connecting with the spirits. Therefore, the rooster crows to make the sky bright and call upon the spirits.

On the other hand, the female chicken’s role is to reproduce, bringing prosperity and fortune. The symbolism of the hen’s egg represents growth and expansion. Moreover, female chickens help increase population.

In terms of nutritional value, female chickens have softer and sweeter meat compared to male chickens, which have tougher and chewier meat.

However, in traditional customs, male dominance is valued over female, so male chickens are considered cleaner for the offering. Offering a male chicken represents bravery and dignity. Furthermore, male chickens have certain characteristics that females don’t, including:

– Literature: Male chickens have a crest on their head and two wattles resembling the wings of a dragonfly.

– Martial arts: Male chickens have spurs symbolizing weapons, signifying martial arts.

– Courage: Male chickens are always ready to fight to protect their flock, even at the cost of their lives.

– Benevolence: Male chickens will call their flock when given food.

– Faith: Male chickens always crow at the right time, regardless of rain, sun, or cold weather.

Male chickens have a strong and powerful appearance, making the chicken dish more aesthetically pleasing when it is used for worship.

Should we always use male chickens for worship? When does a female chicken bring luck and fortune?

In the changing culture of worship, many people nowadays no longer see the need to use male chickens for every occasion. Only on special occasions, when the crow of the rooster symbolically connects with the spirits, such as New Year’s Eve, Lunar New Year, the 1st and 15th day of the lunar month, and the 7th month, is the crow of the rooster necessary. In these cases, a male chicken is definitely needed. Or for ceremonies dedicated to boys during their coming-of-age, a male chicken is used. Using a female chicken for the New Year’s Eve ceremony, for example, would lack the crowing of the rooster, and there would be no rooster to awaken and call upon the new day, thus bringing bad luck.

However, during regular lunar month rituals, using a female chicken is normal. Especially as the hen’s egg represents growth and prosperity, it is essential for ceremonies that wish for children, an increase in family members, and increased blessings.

Therefore, when buying chickens for worship, it is not always necessary to choose a male chicken, and there are occasions where a female chicken is more suitable.

Moreover, in the culture of worship, the ancients always emphasized the importance of sincerity over material offerings. Therefore, if the heart is not sincere, even a grand offering becomes meaningless, but if the heart is sincere, even a humble offering will be blessed, similar to how in life, what matters is the spiritual mindset rather than appearance or external factors.

*This information is meant for reference and contemplation.