700-year-old Hue village gets colorfully 'incensed' for Tet

By Tam Linh, Chi Kim   January 14, 2020 | 11:17 am GMT+7

For centuries, Thuy Xuan Village residents in ancient town Hue have gotten busy when the Lunar New Year draws close as demand for incense sticks soars.

Thuy Xuan incense village is situated on Huyen Tran Cong Chua Street, about seven kilometers from Hue ancient town, where tourists can come and admire the colorful array of incense sticks put up for displayed.

The Thuy Xuan incense village is located about seven kilometers southwest from Hue in central Vietnam. These days the village's traditional vocation has become a tourist attraction, especially during Tet, or Lunar New Year festival, season. Visitors can admire and take pictures of the colorful array of incense sticks displayed and watch how these are made.

Villagers have been earning a living by making incense sticks for 700 years. This place has become a tourist site for nearly 10 years since it is located in a tourist hub area near Vong Canh Hill and the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last imperial family of Vietnam (1802-1945).

While villagers have been earning a living by making incense sticks for the better part of a millennia, it only became a tourist draw a decade or so ago.

The village's proximity to Vong Canh Hill and the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam's last imperial family (1802-1945), has facilitated its growing attraction.

Currently, households still make handmade incense to serve tourism. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness the process of creating traditional incense sticks and be instructed to make the product themselves. This experience is especially appealing to international visitors.

Mostly handmade, the incense sticks are offered by millions of people to ancestors at home and to various deities in temples and pagodas across the country, especially the Buddha.

Visitors to the village these days can also try their hand at making incense sticks, an experience particularly appealing to foreigners.

However, locals still incoporate automatic machines for business purpose.

Some manually operated machines are used in making the incense sticks.

The process of making incense starts from mixing flour with different ingredients, including Northern herbs with schisandra, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and star anise, which will be mixed with water.

The process of making incense starts with making a dough, with ingredients including schisandra, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and star anise.

The stick is made from bamboo and is exposed to sunlight for days so the dried stick dry and easily stick with the incense powder.

The dough is later attached to bamboo sticks which are exposed to sunlight for days.

Half of the incense stikcs are then stained with colored solution.

Half the length of the incense sticks are dipped into a dyed solution.

The sticks are spreaded out to dry up under the sun.

The sticks are spread out to dry under the sun.

The incense sticks in the exhibition area are dyed with different colors and spreaded like flower bouquet to attract more tourists.Thuy Xuan incense village has no admission fee and tourists are free to take pictures. Visistors buy some incense or souvenirs before leaving.

Recognizing their tourism potential, villagers these days arrange the incense sticks in an exhibition area in the manner of bouquets.

The Thuy Xuan incense village charges no admission fee and tourists can take pictures for free, too. Villagers benefit from the publicity, and many visitors buy some of their products before leaving.

 
 
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