Monday, December 12, 2005

Incense

Burning incense is a custom associated with Buddhism in Vietnam. People light incense almost every day at their home altars for their relatives who have passed away, for their business and for the pleasant smell which creates a warm atmosphere. The way the incense sticks are placed into the incense burner on the altar after praying is also important. People say that when the incense finishes burning, the shape of the remains can mean that the god received or rejected your prayer.

Making incense is really difficult according to the lady I talked with today, not because of the shape but because of the aroma and the different ingredients needed to get it right. Incense is made from botannical produce, and there are about 20 kinds of aroma. Huong Tram is one of the most popular ones for Asian people and is made from the tree of the same name.

There are a few kinds of incense that, when you light them, give off hydrocarbons which can be harmful.

12 comments:

jsk said...

Very nice page. I like your photos of the incense. An informative site. Thanks.

Aarya said...

In India,we use agarbathi, similar to these incense, but those are long sticks available in various aromas

Crystal said...

I burn incense in my apartment too, but sometimes I do worry if breathing in this stuff can cause lung cancer.

black feline said...

very informative blog about Vietnam..I was in Hanoi/HCM several years ago..I miss the pho..we have it in Singapore but not the real stuff..currently im stationed in Dubai..all the bests to u!

Karea said...

I work for a Vietnamese man and he goes through the ritual at work when he opens and closes. It's fascinating to watch.

Nish said...

Heyas, congratulations on being invited to write with Global Voices! Anyway, I was taught in my Hinduism class, that when we burn agarbathi in temple, the smoke is used to symbolise the element of air. Fun fact for the day! :)

Juna Duncan said...

That's alot of incense. I love Vietnamese food. At least what I tried here. Pho and other stuff. Great blog. Thanks.

neethu said...

like aarya said we use incense sticks in India on many occasions with characteristic smell. good idea to write about it.

Godknows said...

Hi all,
Thanks for all of your comments, they meant alot to me.

janicesplace said...

Great blog, enjoyed it. What kinds of incense are harmful?

chanchow said...

Fantastic pictures. Really enjoy your blog.

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