Phnom Penh – Agarwood, a fragrant wood native to Cambodia, has gained notable popularity in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, playing a significant role in cultural and trade relations between Cambodia and Saudi Arabia.
According to Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP), agarwood has been a staple import from countries like Cambodia, India, and Indonesia to cater to its high demand in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, about 93 percent of the population is Muslim, and agarwood holds considerable cultural and religious significance. It is believed to be vital for Islamic practices, with its fragrance purported to have curative properties and symbolize love in Arab culture.
The use of agarwood in the production of perfumes and incenses is a long-standing tradition in Saudi Arabia, deeply embedded in the Arab culture. This practice has also created substantial job opportunities in Cambodia, as the trade and export of agarwood to markets in Saudi Arabia continue to grow. It is widely used among Saudi Arabians, further strengthening the ties between the two countries through this cultural exchange.
Agarwood’s significance extends beyond religious practices. It plays a pivotal role in social customs as well. In Saudi Arabia, hosts often use agarwood perfume to anoint the hands of guests and friends as a sign of love and warm welcome. This custom is rooted in the belief that the scent of agarwood creates lasting memories of the host’s hospitality.
For international tourists visiting Saudi Arabia, agarwood products, including perfumes and incenses, are considered highly desirable souvenirs, reflecting the cultural importance of agarwood in the region.
Agarwood, known for its rich aroma, is used in a variety of products, including perfume, soap, tea, and multi-purpose oil, showcasing its versatility and cultural importance.
The popularity of Cambodian agarwood in Saudi Arabia not only promotes Cambodian culture but also fosters stronger relations between Cambodia and countries in the Middle East, highlighting the significance of international trade and cultural exchange.