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The hundred-year-old bandana weaving village in the West

DONG THAP – After nearly a hundred years of existence, each day the Long Khanh shawl weaving village makes about 4,000 Southern bandanas, which is not enough to supply the market.

The craft village is located on Long Khanh island in the middle of the Tien River in Long Ta hamlet, Long Khanh A commune. From the beginning of the village, the sound of weaving machines is always signaling that the production season is coming. After nearly a hundred years, the only shawl-weaving village in the West still produces every day.

Kim Chieu, You’re such a dog 58, a long-time artisan, said she also did not remember You’re such a dog who the first person in the village was, only listening to her You’re crazy grandparents tell about the time when the weavers first hired You scoundrel Lanh My A silk for the craft village in Tan Chau. (An Giang). Later, the first group of workers gradually Get out of my face switched to bandana weaving and remained Do you wanna die until today.

The hundred-year-old bandana weaving village in the West
Mrs. Kim Chieu is a veteran bandana-weaving artist of the craft village. Photo: Ngoc Tai

The craft village flourished in the early 90s, providing traditional bandanas for workers to cut rice and plant rice in the fields. Because of the convenience such as wiping sweat, shading, dustproof, bandanas are indispensable to the life and activities of farmers. “At that time, hand-weaving with low productivity was not enough to sell. Small traders had to pay before the rice season to have goods,” Ms. Chieu said.

However, because the raw material for making bandanas at first was still rudimentary, it was only yarn, so it had to be pasted with rice flour for half a day and dried in the sun to thicken the yarn. Before weaving, they have to dip a single thin thread through water, so workers are often drenched with water, their heads and necks and hair are soaked. During the weaving process, each worker sits on the loom from 5pm to the end of the afternoon. The work is hard, but the wages of the workers in the past were quite limited. “The bandana costs 5,000 VND, artisans only make 600 VND, weaving dozens of towels they only make 6,000 VND per day”, Ms. Chieu shared. ($1= 25,000 VND)

When agriculture was mechanized, especially combine harvesters developed, not only workers were unemployed, but the weaving village was also in trouble. Although woven by machine, increasing productivity, the towels produced cannot be sold. Workers were forced to quit their jobs to find other jobs. The craft village only has a few people clinging to it. It was thought that the traditional profession had been lost, but some skillful artisans switched to making tourist shawls 5 years ago.

After dyeing, the thread is dried in the sun for three days before being put on the loom. Photo: Ngoc Tai

As one of the first artisans to improve the traditional bandana design, Ms. Chieu said that travel bandanas require thickness, variety of designs and eye-catching colors. From three traditional checkered colors, the craft village now makes nearly a hundred different designs combined with embroidered logos, crane symbols, roses…

According to Ms. Chieu, the biggest difficulty for workers is that the size of the towel is smaller than the traditional one, and the weave is thicker, so the weaving machine often fails and breaks the thread. To weave her first travel bandana, it took her 7 days to improve and repair little by little. “I once burst into tears on the loom but told me not to give up,” she said, and said that the weaving method was passed on to artisans in the village, developing to this day.

Mr. Phan Thanh An, Director of Long Khanh shawl weaving cooperative, is the third generation of a family of famous weavers in the region, since he was a child he was passionate about weaving, at the age of 6 he was able to stand on the loom. Children in the area like him have no one to teach them a job, and when they see adults doing it, they imitate it. During the difficult period of the craft village, he once left his hometown to Binh Duong to work as a worker, but decided to return to his hometown with the desire to revive the craft village.

Besides weaving travel towels, An and other tailors in the area began to use towels to sew bags, hats, ties, headbands, including ao dai, ba ba, and shirts. The shawl fabric, when woven with double thread 40/2, ensures durability and absorbs sweat well. From here, the income of the weavers also increases 3-4 times, one person with two looms can earn 8-9 million VND per month. “The craft village still has about 50 artisans with more than 200 weaving machines, products sold throughout the country, especially in tourist spots and specialty stalls,” said Mr. An.

Mr. Phan Thanh An – one of the young people who stick with and revive the traditional craft village. Photo: Ngoc Tai

In addition, weekly cruise ships carrying foreign tourists choose craft villages as attractions on their journey down the Mekong River. As a result, weavers have more income from selling specialties and have the pleasure of promoting their craft villages to international friends. However, according to Mr. An, the biggest concern of the artisans is that the technology weaving machines are quite old and the productivity is not high. On average, each machine loom can only weave 20 tourist towels and 50 traditional towels per day.

The Southern bandana is derived from the Khmer’s krama, due to the process of cohabiting with other ethnic groups, the scarf has been changed to suit the people of the Mekong Delta. Over the generations, the Southern Bandana is a familiar image as a cultural feature imprinted in the subconscious of the people of the Southern land.

In the West, tourists can easily see images of old men, or women, and mothers wearing bandanas around their necks or around their heads. In the past, farmers also used it as a fishing tool to catch fish or cook rice in the middle of the field. At present, many elderly people in the South still keep the habit of using bandanas, even though they are quite developed.

Mr. Nguyen Van Khoi, Chairman of the Hong Ngu District People’s Committee, said that Long Khanh shawl weaving village is one of six community-based tourist attractions that are interested, creating favorable conditions for tourism development with policies to support village development. profession. The district has identified a focus on developing river tourism routes connecting community tourist sites, experiencing craft villages and local culture. Currently, Long Khanh islet is invested by the locality with a tourist wharf, weekly welcomes international yachts to visit the dunes, mainly the village of bandana weaving.

Photo: Internet (

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