Posted on 13. Jan, 2011 by in Blog, Travel

Now for a little educational piece for all of you who have wondered why incense is burned in all Asian temples and alters. Communicating with the dead is a vital part of the daily activities. Commemorating the departed is an essential aspect of their life. Birthdays are almost irrelevant in this culture. Your age is determined by the year that you are in. For example, February 3rd is the Tet New Year. On that day, all Vietnamese will consider themselves a year older. If you are born on February 2nd, you are considered one year old the next day. The day of one’s passing is marked and becomes an indelible date in the family. When trying to communicate or put forth a wish to the departed, incense is used since once lit, the smoke starts off visible and as it dissipates, the sense is that it has transcended to the other side, carrying the message of the living to the departed. Sort of like fax meets e-mail.

Written by Bruce,‘s husband