Vietnamese gold companies are enjoying one of the busiest business days of the year on Saturday, with local consumers rushing to buy gold in the hope of good fortune on what is traditionally known as the day of the God of Wealth.
Today is the tenth day of the Lunar New Year, and the day when the God of Wealth returns to heaven as per Vietnamese tradition and custom.
It is thus believed that buying gold on this day will bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year.
Friday was also a good time to buy gold as it was the day to worship the Jade Emperor.
“Sales began increasing since the middle of the week, with most customers buying gold to seek good fortune,” Nguyen Cong Tuong, deputy head of wholesaling with Saigon Jewelry Co, the country’s largest gold trader, told VnExpress newspaper on Friday.
Tuong said there has been a shift in the choice of what to buy among the gold buyers.
“While they used to buy SJC gold bullion weighing 1/10 or 2/10 tael, customers now prefer gold shaped as the 12 zodiac animals or the God of Wealth this year,” he elaborated.
A tael is the most common weight measure of gold in Vietnam, which equals 37.5 grams.
In Vietnam, the 12 zodiac animals are the rat, buffalo, tiger, cat, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
My Dung, a resident of Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh District, said she decided to buy gold after hearing that it will bring good luck.
She chose to buy a horse-shaped gold bar as her lunar birth year was the Year of the Horse, she said.
The God of Wealth, as well as goat-shaped gold bullion, meanwhile, sold out around midday Friday, as the current lunar year, which began on February 19, is the Year of the Goat.
Few customers bought gold jewelry as in previous years as they believe the zodiac animal gold will bring more luck, according to an SJC representative.
Some gold shops thus made use of the opportunity to increase prices.
While a 1/10-tael gold bullion in the shape of the God of Wealth fetches only VND3.38 million (US$158) at SJC, a gold shop on Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1 asked for as much as VND3.58 million ($167).
At the Phu Nhuan Jewelry stores, gold bullion stamped with the Tai (Money) and Loc (Fortune) letters are selling like hot cakes.
“Demand began rising on Friday and is expected to peak on Saturday,” a PNJ shop attendant on Nguyen Van Troi Street in Phu Nhuan District told VnExpress
Known as Than Tai in Vietnamese, the God of Wealth is the god of prosperity. He is often depicted riding a black tiger and holding a golden rod. He may also be depicted with an iron tool capable of turning stone and iron into gold.
People usually worship him in hope of having good fortune in their business.