return icon

The journey of incense sticks

To Vietnamese, burning incense is the traditional ritual meant to build a bridge between the visible life of the present generation and the spiritual world of gods and past generations.

 No matter the cult, a burning incense is the first thing to do to establish an environment conducive to spiritual elevation and attract gods or spirits attention.

A woman is burning incense sticks at a Buddhist temple in HCM City. - Photos: Adrien Jean
Bamboo is cut into small stick.

This traditional practice is done both at home on the ancestors’ altar and worshiping place, particularly pagodas,  on the most important days of the lunar calendar (1st and 15th days of lunar month), as well as on the death anniversary of a loved one or on a baby’s birth, and of course for Tet, the Lunar New Year.  It is part of people’s daily life and, so to speak, of the country’s cultural identity.

Incense and long circular sticks are burning in a temple in HCM City’s District 1.

In the following photo essay pictured in HCM City, the whole process of incense production—from chopping bamboo rods into small pieces to the final packaging—is way more complicated than one may think and requires dedication at each stage.

Incense sticks are dipped into colorful dyes until the right shade of the desired color is achieved.
A young man is collecting dry incense sticks. After being dyed, these small bamboo sticks will be sun-dried
In this phase, powder is mixed with other ingredients to make the final burning powder.
Burning paste is added to the dry incense sticks.
The burning part is applied to dry incense sticks.
Incense sticks are spread out so that they can become dry quicker.
Dry incense sticks are gathered…
… and sorted out to pick the good sticks from broken ones.


Visiting incense-making Quang Phu Cau village

Visiting incense-making Quang Phu Cau village

Quang Phu Cau village in Ung Hoa district, 35 kilometres from downtown of Hanoi, is famous for its century-old craft of making incense. 

Phia Thap incense village in Cao Bang

Phia Thap incense village in Cao Bang

The incense craft of the Nung ethnic minority people in Phia Thap Village, Quoc Dan Commune, Quang Uyen District, Cao Bang Province is contributing to the preservation of a traditional spiritual culture.

Well-off families spend tens of millions on incense with natural scents

Well-off families spend tens of millions on incense with natural scents

Instead of buying incense with an artificial scent made of chemicals, high-income families pay millions of dong for ‘clean’ incense.


VN manages to control public debt

Viet Nam managed to control public debt within a safe level with gradually slowing year-on-year increases. However, according to the Ministry of Finance, the economy was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in the past three years.

Hanoi needs to combine green growth with urban development

The capital Hanoi is focusing on urban development towards green and sustainable growth and building a smart and modern city.

Phu Yen man makes unique plates from sea grape leaves

Nguyen Van Tuyen, a 38-year-old man from Phu Yen, has successfully designed and produced environmentally-friendly plates made from the leaves of sea grape, a tropical tree.

Bad vendors put e-commerce at risk

Smuggled, counterfeit and low-quality products have begun to spread rapidly on e-commerce platforms as the absence of physical product touch in online shopping puts buyers at a disadvantage.

Thai Nguyen listed among top 6 best places globally to enjoy tea

Marking International Tea Day, travel website has unveiled a list of the top six must-visit destinations around the world for travelers to dive into the historical and cultural values of tea, with Thai Nguyen featured in the list.

SEA Games men’s football final tickets stir black market

Tickets for the final of the men’s football at the ongoing SEA Games 31 are being offered for sale at shockingly high prices of up to VND8 million (USD348) each.


SEA Games 31: Thai weightlifter conquers men’s 67kg class

Doll collection created in honour of Mother Goddess worshipping

Inspired by Mother Goddess worshipping - a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage - designer Van Anh Scarlet created a collection of figurative dolls based on the ritual, called the “Painting of the Four Palaces”.

Try some typical Muong grub

The Mường ethnic people living in Hòa Bình, Thanh Hóa or Phú Thọ share the same origin and almost the same way of living in harmony with nature.

VN food exporters turn focus to domestic market

Vietnamese are tending to consume foods of clear origin and high quality after the COVID-19 pandemic, causing many export-oriented food brands to turn their attention to the domestic market.

Stormy time for HOSE: network pending, leader disciplined

In 2021, the HCM City Stock Exchange (HOSE) reported a 21-year high profit. However, it was also the year when many problems occurred.

Facebook to register, declare and pay foreign contractor tax in Vietnam

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, on the occasion of the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the National Innovation Center (NIC), made the tax payment commitment.

Prime Minister’s ‘3-in-1’ business trip to the US

The business trip to the US of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has brought important bilateral and multilateral results, according to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc.

Corporate bond issuance drops sharply after arrest of Tan Hoang Minh chair

After the cancelation of nine corporate bond issuances of three companies related to Tan Hoang Minh, the volume of private offerings fell sharply by 33 percent to VND30 trillion in April.

Why the stock market sell-off when VN’s economy is strong?

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index sold off 11 per cent last week and was down 21 per cent in the year to date at the end of last week after being nearly flat until March end.