For Tibetans, the kitchen range is holy, as it is under the rule of the Kitchen God and is home also to the daughter of the Dragon King.
In the days leading up to New Year’s Day, the Tibetans paint a scorpion (which is the incarnation of the daughter of the Dragon King), auspicious patterns and prayer words on the kitchen wall. Some rich families inlay coral and gems into the wall to pray for a thriving future. Some families bring out historic objects used by Living Buddhas and thus regarded as holy. They believe the stoves of this kind cook more delicious and healthier food. It was said that one family in Kangma still preserves an earthen stove used by Gar Tongtsan some 1,000 years ago.
The kitchen range in a monastery is huge mainly because the chefs have to cook food and tea for all the lamas. Monks believe food cooked with the range is tastier.
They have the following taboos:
--Burn nothing considered filthy, such as bones, droppings of dogs and cats, and hairs.
--Do not stand bare-footed and half naked when getting close to the stove for warmth, and do not walk across the stove, which would offend the kitchen god and the daughter of the dragon king.
Some Tibetan families follow strict rules, including that no fish should be cooked in the kitchen and the front living chambers (cooking and eating fish only in the courtyard); leaving no empty pot on the stove when not in use; and putting any remaining cooked food on the middle chamber of the stove. After camping in the wilderness, campers scatter zanba (roasted highland barley flour) over the embers of the fire. Some wives leave buttered tea made in the morning on the kitchen range as a token of first service to the god.