Ghost money

In Chinese ancestor worship, it is traditional to burn offerings that look like bank notes and other goods in order to give the deceased spending money and wealth in the afterlife.

Ghost money
Vmenkov [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
So-called “hell money” (although the more proper translation is “shade money” or “ghost money”) comes in many high denominations and is typically printed on bamboo or rice paper. It is offered not only to ancestors but also to local deities and higher gods.

In modern times, people burn more than money: paper cars, houses, electronic devices, and more can be purchased to offer up. This is big business: Wikipedia reports that Taiwanese temples received US$400 million in 2014 to burn ghost money.

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