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Saigon incense village on Tet holiday

This year’s Tet crop, incense-making households in Le Minh Xuan commune, Binh Chanh district have twice the output of last year, selling at the “highest ever” price.

About a month before Tet, incense-making households in Le Minh Xuan commune, Binh Chanh district are busy with the Tet season. Incense drying racks stretch along Mai Ba Huong Street.

My Le, 54 years old, who has been making incense sticks for nearly 20 years, said that at this time, she had to get up at 3 am to mix the powder and make incense so that when it was morning, the batches of incense would be dried in the sun.

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, factories stopped production for many months, so wholesale customers did not have incense to store Tet. In this year’s Tet incense crop, households have to produce twice as much as the same time last year.

On sunny days, it takes about half a day for the incense to dry. Every two hours, Ms. Le had to go to the island of incense to dry her face evenly. “This profession depends a lot on the weather. On a rainy day, if you don’t work, it’s considered no income. Sometimes when it’s sunny, it rains, and the whole family helps to collect incense in time,” she said.

After spreading incense on the truss, Ms. Le also took advantage of choosing some faulty incense sticks, then soaked in water to get the powder and incense legs back. Although often exposed to the sun, her hands are dark, but Ms. Le does not wear gloves to feel the dryness of the incense better.

Every day, Ms. Le and her husband make about 100 incense sticks (bundle of 1,000 trees).

For about a decade now, Ms. Le’s family has used an incense burner instead of doing it manually as before. The maker just needs to put the incense powder into the hopper, put the incense foot in place, the running machine will produce a complete incense stick.

Ms. Suong, 43 years old, who is managing an incense factory with nearly a dozen employees, said that every year, the price of incense this year is about 30,000 VND per day. “This is the highest price in about 20 years,” Ms. Suong said.

Her family invests in a dryer, so it is not dependent on the weather. This year’s Tet crop, the factory sells about 5,000 incense sticks to the market every day.

Incense drying cages were added in the yard to keep up with the schedule.

Suong’s daughter, Thanh Thuy, 16 years old, is arranging bundles of incense sticks that have been dyed and dried in the sun.

Most households in Le Minh Xuan incense village will deliver these bundles to wholesalers. Then, the incense will be divided and packaged in many different sizes of packaging. In some places, sellers will add scents to serve customer needs.

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