JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

COVID-19 pall over Vietnam's pink incense village as Lunar New Year nears

COVID-19 pall over Vietnam's pink incense village as Lunar New Year nears

Friday, January 14, 2022, 13:08 GMT+7
COVID-19 pall over Vietnam's pink incense village as Lunar New Year nears
In Quang Phu Cau village, the tradition of making incense goes back more than a century. Photo: AFP

Vietnam's "incense village" is dazzling pink as workers prepare the fragrant sticks for the Lunar New Year holiday, but strict rules to stop the spread of COVID-19 are dulling its lustre.

January is usually the busiest time of year for workers in Quang Phu Cau village on the outskirts of Hanoi, where the tradition of making incense goes back more than a century.

As Vietnam's Tet new-year holiday approaches -- this year it begins on February 1 -- sales tick up with throngs of people crowding into temples to light incense during worship, or burn the sticks on the ancestral altar at home.

During Tet, throngs of people will crowd into temples to light incense during worship, or burn the sticks on the ancestral altar at home. Photo: AFP

During Tet, throngs of people will crowd into temples to light incense during worship, or burn the sticks on the ancestral altar at home. Photo: AFP

But while villagers are busy dyeing, drying and whittling bamboo bark to make the sticks, they complain that business is slow.

"I think our sales must have dropped by 30 percent compared with the same period last year," says Nguyen Thi Luyen, 59.

Vietnam reported economic growth for 2021 of just 2.58 percent -- its lowest in three decades -- as the country endured strict restrictions to fight the pandemic.

Production, supply chains and businesses were seriously hit for at least three months.

Things have started to improve, but the consequences remain.

"Normally, there would be trucks carrying our products from central provinces and border provinces. This year, due to pandemic preventive policy, trucks [could not] carry goods there," Luyen told AFP.

A worker collects dried incense sticks for sale. Photo: AFP
A worker collects dried incense sticks for sale. Photo: AFP

Quang Phu Cau is among several places dotted across Vietnam making the sticks, the scent of each batch carefully tailored to suit the tastes of the regions where they will be sold.

Most households in the village are involved in the ancient trade, from cutting bamboo planks and dipping thin strips into pink dye to coating the dried sticks in an aromatic paste.

"We really hope things will come back to normal soon," Luyen said.

A worker arranges dried incense sticks in a courtyard in Quang Phu Cau village. Photo: AFP
A worker arranges dried incense sticks in a courtyard in Quang Phu Cau village. Photo: AFP

AFP - Tuoi Tre News

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Latest news

Vietnam Q2 GDP growth quickens alongside price pressures

Vietnam's economy grew at a 7.72% annual pace in the second quarter on the back of robust exports, government data showed on Wednesday, though authorities noted challenges such as rising inflation for the second half of the year