How to Burn Incense Sticks Without A Holder

In Southeast Asia's vibrant and diverse cultural landscape, ancient traditions and rituals continue to thrive in various aspects of everyday life. Among these cherished customs is the burning of incense sticks, which holds great significance in temples throughout the region.

When wondering how to burn incense sticks without a holder, we can look to the temples in Southeast Asia which feature a unique practice. A pot filled with rice or ash from burnt incense is used as a makeshift incense holder. This article aims to explore the intriguing ritual and provide alternative methods for burning incense sticks without a traditional holder, allowing individuals to partake in this time-honoured tradition even outside of temple settings.

Exploring Southeast Asia's temple rituals

Incense burning plays an integral role in the spiritual and religious practices of many cultures across Southeast Asia. From Buddhist temples in Thailand and Cambodia to Hindu shrines in Indonesia and Vietnam, the fragrance of incense fills the air, creating a serene and transcendent atmosphere.

The act of burning incense in Southeast Asian temples is deeply symbolic. The fragrant smoke is believed to purify the surroundings, ward off evil spirits, and connect the earthly and divine realms. The pot, often made of ceramic or metal, acts as a vessel to contain the burning incense, representing a physical embodiment of reverence and devotion.


Alternate incense holder options

While traditional incense holders can be readily found, there are situations where you may not have access to such tools. Fortunately, simple yet ingenious alternatives can be used to burn incense sticks without a holder.


A staple crop in many Southeast Asian countries can be a versatile incense holder. Simply take a small bowl or dish and fill it with uncooked rice. Then, gently insert the incense stick into the rice, ensuring it stands upright and remains stable. The rice provides stability and acts as an excellent insulator to protect the surface underneath from heat.

A glass of water

A quick and easy method for how to burn incense sticks with a holder involves the use of a glass partly filled with water. This makeshift incense holder can be easily assembled with everyday household items, allowing you to enjoy the aromatic experience without needing specialised tools.

To use a glass of water as an impromptu incense holder, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a glass that is tall enough to support the length of the incense stick while ensuring the water level remains below the area where the incense is ignited. A standard drinking glass or tumbler will suffice for this purpose.
  2. Pour water into the glass, filling it approximately halfway. This water level ensures that the incense stick is supported by the glass while keeping the water below the burning end of the incense.
  3. Rest the incense stick against the side of the glass at a slight angle. The unburnt portion of the incense should be leaning against the glass, with the burning end extending outside the glass. Ensure that the incense stick is securely positioned and remains stable throughout the burning process.
  4. Carefully ignite the tip of the incense stick. Allow the flame to burn for a few seconds before gently blowing it out, leaving the glowing ember to release the aromatic smoke.

Elevating the incense-burning experience

While makeshift solutions can be handy for burning incense sticks without a holder, those seeking a more refined and immersive experience may desire dedicated tools designed specifically for this ancient practice.

MAHŌ Incense holders, a range of meticulously crafted burners and hardware that elevate the art of incense burning to new heights, enhance the rituals that foster a space of meditation and tranquillity.

Thoughtfully designed to provide a functional platform for burning incense, our collection serves as aesthetic pieces that add beauty and elegance to any environment. With a focus on quality, these holders embody the essence of the ancient art, honouring tradition while embracing modern sensibilities.

The MAHŌ collection of Incense burners and holders offers diverse styles, materials, and designs, allowing you to find a piece that resonates with your aesthetic and spiritual journey. Each holder is created with careful attention to detail, incorporating elements inspired by nature, minimalism, and cultural symbolism. Find yours here.