Piggy-bank makers looking to get fat for a sizzling Tet

By Thanh Nguyen   January 9, 2017 | 01:12 am PT
Vietnamese people are hoping to stuff their pigs with lucky money as the Lunar New Year approaches.

Across the country, people are getting ready to ring in the Year of the Rooster on January 28, and ceramic villages in the southern province of Binh Duong are looking to cash in. 


Potters in Thuan An District are racing against time to make the time-honored money saving containers which are in high demand for the Lunar New Year celebrations. This year the traditional pig-shaped savings container will also come in the shape of roosters to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. 


“Technically it’s more difficult to make a ceramic rooster-shaped bank than a piggy bank,” said Nguyen Van Hau, a potter in Thuan An, adding that there is currently a surge in demand for the product.


Nguyen Van Moi said in order to meet the sudden surge in demand ahead of the Tet celebrations, pottery factories in Thuan An have to outsource to nearby Tan Uyen District. 


“We used to make the piggy banks by hand using simple tools, but now we mold the clay because it’s much faster,” said Moi.


Nguyen Van Thuong said it takes no longer than one or two hours to mold the clay into the desired shape and wait for it to dry.


“The firing process takes about 10 hours on average. A pottery can fire up to 3,000 a day,” said Pham Manh.


Le Tuyet, a female worker with seven years of experience, said the job is labor-intensive with a mere income of VND3-4 million per month ($130-$180).


Most workers at the facilities in Tan Uyen District are from northern provinces.


Nguyen Thi Le, 70 years old, sands down a model.


“We use powder to make the color stay bright for longer,” said Nguyen Thi Quynh Hoa.  


On the long list of traditional practices that Vietnamese people follow during the Lunar New Year, saving money in a new ceramic piggy bank is meant to set the financial foundation for a prosperous year ahead. 

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