Vietnamese Betel and Areca

Posted by admin at 03-28-2010 11:57:08

     According to legends, chewing betel and areca has been customary since the Hung Vuong period. A quid of betel, also called trau, is composed of four elements: the areca with a sweet taste, the betel leaf which has a hot taste, the chay root with a bitter taste, and the slaked lime which has an acrid taste.

     It is said in ancient books that “chewing betel freshens the breath, calms bad temper, and helps digest food”. Betel also makes people celebrating different occasions, such as Tet holidays and festivals. With betel, one can make new acquaintances or talk confidentially with old friends. Betel warms people on cold winter days and softens the sadness of a mourning family.

     Betel (Trau) is also used to show respect by the older generation towards the new one. This is why there is always trau cau on the tray of offering on the ancestor's altar.