How Many Incense Sticks Should We Burn According to Vietnamese Traditions?

Incense Sticks Burning Inside a Temple

Incense has a long history within many cultures throughout the world.

From Ancient Egypt to Northern China, to the natives in the Americas, incense has played a vital role in the advancement of society.

However, a question I am often asked is:

How many incense sticks should I burn?

How Many Incense Sticks to Burn a Day

Of course, you can burn as many as you like, and there are many reasons one may want to burn it.

Many people who burn incense often burn it once or twice a day.

Other questions I am often asked are:

  • How Many Incense Sticks to Burn For Good Luck
  • How Many Incense Sticks to Burn For Cleansing
  • How Many Incense Sticks to Burn For God
  • How Many Agarbatti to Light In Front of God

The answer is usually the same. Most people burn just a few incense sticks a day. There is no need to go overboard, as the scent typically lingers for quite a few hours afterwards.

However, there are some Vietnamese incense traditions which some of you may be interested in:

The Vietnamese New Year Festival

The Vietnamese New Year Festival is known as Tet. During this festival it is customary to light 3 incense sticks, which is the same quantity which is burned during some Thai funerals.

Other Vietnamese Incense Traditions

However, some Vietnamese believe you should only burn one incense stick while performing a more ordinary ritual such as when you would pray to your ancestors or paying tribute to an influential hero of the past.

Prayer to the Mother Goddess of the Forest

When praying to the Mother Goddess of the Forest, people often burn a larger quantity of 5 incense sticks in order to request protection.

Pardon for all Wandering Souls

There is also an occasion known as the ‘Pardon for all Wandering Souls’ which happens every year on the 15th day of the 7th moon. The event is known as Cúng Cô Hồn in Vietnamese. During this event, 7 incense sticks are burned near banyan trees, or other similar trees. The reason they burn it near trees is because many Vietnamese believe that spirits inhabit old trees.

The Pure Brightness Festival

In the 3rd lunar month, the Vietnamese have a festival known as the Pure Brightness Festival. During this festival, Vietnamese festivals go to cemeteries to clean and decorate the graves of their ancestors.

It is quite common to burn incense sticks during this event.

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