Chang Son is a typical village in the north of Viet Nam. During the peak harvest season, local farmers are busy working on vast fields. However, nearly all families have someone at home and making the traditional fans. It is said that in the 19th century, French colonists used to bring Chang Son fans to Paris for exhibition.
Local people attach paper to bamboo to make traditional fan.
Most villagers learn to make fans at an early age. The fans are not limited to daily use for dispelling the summer heat, but also for decoration and festivals; they are also exported to many countries. Regardless of the weather, villagers are busy making fans all year round. There are many kinds of fans for diverse purposes, but the most significant one is paper fan in traditional way. It takes a lot of effort to make a paper fan. Materials have to be prepared beforehand after the Lunar New Year. The bamboo for fan frame must be pretty straight with few knots. It is sawed into parts, soaked in water for months to protect the wood from termites and mould, left to dry in the sun, split into thinner pieces, and stringed together to create the backbone of a fan. Then villagers trim and dye the backbone, cut paper or silk, and attach it to the bamboo. This is the most difficult step, as they must take great care to ensure that the paper or silk will not crumple, even when the fan is folded. The makers can print meaningful phrases on the fans, decorate them with colors and sparkling tinsel, or even draw pictures upon requests of customers.