Poor buying power has led red carp prices to decline at a fish market in Hanoi these days though the traditional send-off ceremony for ‘Ong Cong Ong Tao,’ or the Kitchen Gods in Vietnamese legend, is coming.
As an annual tradition, Vietnamese people prepare a farewell ceremony for the Kitchen Gods to return to the Jade Emperor’s palace on the 23rd day of the last lunar month, around a week before the Tet holiday.
This year, the farewell ritual will be performed on Tuesday.
Among the offerings of the ritual, a carp serves as a means of transport for the Kitchen Gods to ride to heaven for reporting about what they have witnessed in every family during the past year, according to the Vietnamese folk belief.
|A trader of carp at the Yen So Market in Hanoi is seen in this photo.|
Therefore, people usually choose to buy big, strong, and beautiful red carp and free them into the water for such a ritual.
However, this year's sales of such fish have slowed down as seen at many markets in the capital city.
As recorded by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, there were only a few buyers at the Yen So Market on Sunday morning, two days prior to the Kitchen Gods send-off ceremony.
The number of vehicles transporting carp to the market also declined to only 60-80 percent of that in 2021.
Red carp fetched from northern Ha Nam Province were sold for VND180,000 (US$7.9) to VND200,000 ($8.8) per kilogram, while dark red fish from Hai Duong, another northern province, were priced at over VND200,000 per kilogram.
The highest price was VND250,000 ($11) per kilogram for carp originating in Phu Tho Province, also in the northern region.
|This image shows a carp trader (sitting) receiving two customers at the Yen So Market in Hanoi.|
Such prices were quite lower than those last year, when the wholesale rates averaged out at VND250,000 per kilogram, and retail prices could be up to VND350,000 ($15.4) per kilogram, traders said.
On the day of the Kitchen Gods farewell ceremony, the prices rose to VND400,000 ($17.6) per kilogram.
Carp are beautiful this year but customer demand has reduced by 50 percent compared to last year, partly due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, fish trader Hieu told Tuoi Tre.
“The carp prices may increase tomorrow if many more people come to buy the fish,” Hieu said.
|A customer holds a bag of carp bought at Yen So Market in Hanoi.|