Every year, before the “Ong Cong – Ong Tao” ceremony, the Yen So fish market is crowded as small traders and people come to buy red carp. On the early morning of February 4 (the 23rd of the last month of the lunar year), the atmosphere at the wholesale fish market is quieter than last year.
NDO – In order to prepare for the “Ong Cong – Ong Tao” (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) ritual (on the 23rd of the last month of the lunar year), the Yen So fish market (Hoang Mai, Hanoi) – one of the largest fish markets in northern Vietnam – is filled with the red colour of carp. Red carp are transported from provinces and cities to serve the needs of the people.
In order to ensure the proper control of Covid -19 pandemic, the Market Management Board announced that 100% of small traders as well as people entering the market must wear face masks.
According to some traders, this year, due to the epidemic, the number of buyers from provinces has decreased significantly; many provinces have been places under social distancing orders, so the sales volumes are not similar to what is usually expected.
Yellow and red carp are the two main types of fish for sale at the market.
According to Vu Mai, owner of a business establishment at Yen So fish market, the amount of imported fish this year is much less than last year, but the quality is higher, so the price is higher. The price is VND 300,000 per kilogramme for premium fish, the standard quality is about VND 180,000 per kilogramme. Most years, the price is about VND 80,000 per kilogramme, while the premium fish is about VND 120,000 per kilogramme.
On the day of the ceremony, the number of fish sold can be up to a few quintals per day. Red carp are a popular choice due to their vibrant colour.
Yen So fish market trades all day, but is most crowded around 3-4am. These days, there are hundreds of small traders coming from all over the world to buy fish for retail at small markets.
As legend goes, the Land Genie and the Kitchen Gods will ride carp to Heaven to deliver an annual report on household activities to the Gods in Heaven.
Small traders ride motorbikes to transport fish to the inner market areas of Hanoi.