The once-bustling Hang Ma street in the centre of Hanoi has fallen quiet amid ‘ghost month’, the seventh month of the Lunar Calendar, as a result of the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
Situated in central Hanoi on Hang Ma street, the votive paper market has been left fairly deserted, appearing in contrast to previous years.
Many store owners state that there has been a downturn in customers from previous years. This can largely be put down to the COVID-19 epidemic having a great influence on the economy, with less families spending money on buying votive paper for the Ghost Festival which traditionally falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.
Store owners have also been forced to reduce imports of votive paper, although many items remain on their shelves.
Sellers have plenty of free time because of the lack of customers.
Some even make votive paper themselves due to having so much free time on their hands.
Ghost month is when the majority of burning of votives takes place. Popular offerings include clothes, jewelry, and smartphones which are put on sale on the pavements.
There is a diverse range of clothes on offer, although no one buys them.
Luxury votive objects such as houses and cars have not sold well this year.
Each item of votive clothing costs between VND35,000 and VND80,000.
A house is valued from VND180,000 to VND250,000.
In the age of the Internet, buyers can sit at home and use the phone or the computer, and votive products can easily be brought to their houses.