Song Ho is not only famous for making folk paintings but also the country’s biggest hub of votive paper production. In Ghost Month, many local households are busy with the work.
With the belief that the afterlife resembles life on earth, votive offerings are quite diverse, ranging from clothes to villas and airplanes with many close to real size.
In the seventh lunar month, local residents get bigger orders. They also provide the products for pagodas on different occasions in the year.
This year, big cars and airplanes are sold well. It takes craftsmen many days to finish an airplane.
A car with the real size is priced at VND3 million.
The work requires patience and skill.
Besides luxury cars, some other kinds of vehicles such as buses and trucks are also made.
On the contrary to the busy atmosphere in Song Ho, Hang Ma Street in Hanoi these days seems to be quiet. According to traders, the use of votive papers has been restricted, affecting sales.
Clothes are sold at VND30,000-100,000 per set, while technology products such as mobile phones are higher prices at VND250,000 each.
The most expensive products are high-rise buildings and luxury cars.
Last year, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha sent official document to branches nationwide asking for giving up the practice of burning votive paper offerings at Buddhist worshiping establishments.
In the document, Most Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu, Standing Vice Chairman of the VBS’s Executive Council, urged Sangha chapters in cities and provinces nationwide to give directions to local monks, nuns, and Buddhist followers to organise celebrations in a civilised, thrifty and non-ostentatious fashion in accordance with Buddhist traditions.
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