The custom of chewing betel is a beautiful characteristic in traditional culture of Vietnamese and Hoi An people. It is associated with the “Legend of Betel and Areca” about the faithful-ness of love and brotherhood. Betel and Areca are used to start a conversation and help people become closer and more open with each other. They serve as offering in important traditional ceremonies, such as offering rituals, engagements, weddings, funerals and burials.
The mixture of many materials when chewing betel provides a delicious spicy taste with red juice, freshness and produces a stimulant response. Therefore, chewing betel makes red lip, pink cheeks, maintaining glossy black teeth and mouth fragrant. It was also a beauty method for women in the past.
A betel kit includes a knife for splitting the areca nuts and shaping the betel leaves, a pot of lime, a tube of lime paste, a little stick used to spread lime paste on the betel leaf, a box of sliced tobacco. The betel, areca and another items are contained in lacquer wooden boxes, trays or bamboo baskets. Sometimes they take some mixedbetel quids along in a bag when going out.
Nowadays, custom of betel chewing is getting less popular. However, betel and areca nuts are an indispensable betrothal gift during traditional weddings and offering rituals.