Big Bens Burn For Vietnam New Year


There are many traditions practiced by the Vietnamese at Tet, the lunar new year, but none catches the eye of the American tourists more than the act of burning thousands of U.S. $100 bills with the familiar face of Ben Franklin turning to ash.

Instead of sparklers–firecrackers are outlawed–the younger set and many adults torch the U.S. money in hopes of having a prosperous new year. The superstition is the smoke and ashes will ascend to heaven and with luck come back as REAL money. The Vietnamese make photocopies of the Big Bens, cut them into perfect bill size and pass them out to their children to burn on the sidewalks.

No one could explain why the U.S. dollar was the currency of choice, but the way the Feds print money and government at all levels–along with bankers and auto manufacturers–burn through it, perhaps the Vietnamese are just taking a lesson from capitalists. They use photocopies which perhaps have the same value as the real thing once you think about it.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. With the economy going down the tube and the Fed printing dollars like they’re monopoly money, we’re going to be burning our money soon. It’ll provide more value with heat than what it’s worth on the open market!

  2. Clippityclop
    Feb 9, 2009, 1:38 am


    Bring some Vietnamese currency back with you so we can photo copy it, burn it and await riches from the sky — I’ll bet this will bring a better return than my 401K, which is augering as I type.

  3. Its not just Tet when the Vietnamese burn US$100 note also for Funerals, and other occasions thru out the year.

  4. Serendipity
    Feb 9, 2009, 10:34 am

    Well, as things now stand, and it could change hourly, the USD beats out the EU and UK currencies, and also the Vietnam dong.

    Change a hundred dollars in HaNoi and you get a million in dong. Do you want to be a millionaire..?

    EDITOR NOTE– Actually the rate is now in excess of VND 17,000 per USD which is a a millionaire and three-quarters for $100.

  5. What’s wrong with you people?!!?



  6. Inflation types boil down to two types COST and DEMAND. Not much is going on to creat cost increase demand from makers of stuff. And not much is happening in the way calling for demand increases in costs.

    Cost demand is due to increases in the cost of goods and passed up to the consumer. Demand inflation is the result of demand or pull on the supply. Right now nothing is moving or gettting made if you belive what you see and hear in the news.

  7. with some of the crap people buy I would say that there are many ways that we already “burn” our dollars.

  8. Too bad you couldn’t grab a bushel of them to bring home. Would have been fun to pile them and watch the faces of people as you burn the bills.
    Of course, you’d probably get busted for counterfeiting and air polluting, but what the heck. You could just pay the fine with $100s.

  9. Rod in SE Boise
    Feb 10, 2009, 2:24 pm

    Photocopying our currency is illegal. They should burn the real stuff.

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