Joss paper, spirit money, or ghost money are part of the Chinese/Taoist tradition. Joss money is burnt during the birthdays of ancestors, their death anniversaries, and festivals like the Qingming and the hungry ghost. 金银纸批发 is made of rice or bamboo paper. It is primarily used to appease the dead and offer them materialistic items like clothes, food, electronics so that they can have a comfortable existence in the afterlife. The papers are decorated in a wide variety of manners. The decoration will depend on the purpose the joss money is used for.
Evolution of the joss paper:
The invention of joss paper goes all the way back to when the six dynasties were functional in China. At this time, life was very difficult. Most Chinese farmers would keep working but get no harvest. Therefore, the Chinese opted for a method that would help them get out of poverty. This started with burning the Joss paper. As per archaeologists, these paper offerings started to happen around 1000 BC. The imitations of money were left in ancestral thrones and were offered to please the dead.
When a Chinese emperor died during ancient times, the men of the emperor were also killed. This was done so that the men of the emperor could serve him in the spiritual realm. Eventually, people felt that this practice of killing the soldiers was inhumane and began burning Joss paper for the soldiers. Some Taoists also started making human effigy with the joss paper Malaysia to indicate the servants of emperors in the spirit realm.
Today, Joss paper burning is done at funerals, crematoriums, temples, and gravesites. It also is conducted during the Qingming Festival and the hungry ghost festival.
Importance of Joss paper burning
The hungry ghost festival is when the deceased ancestors come to the Earth realm seeking food. At this time, Joss paper is burnt so that the ancestors who are coming to the realm of the Earth can receive food. It is the responsibility of the living relatives to make sure that their dead ancestors feel satisfied. If the ancestors are satisfied, they either leave their living ancestors alone and in peace or become the guardian angels of the living ones.
The burning of Joss paper also ensures that the ones who have passed away have a good and comfortable living in the afterlife. This is why Joss paper burning is also included in the funerals. Many religions believe that life continues despite the death of the physical body. Thus, this practice helps the dead relatives adjust to the spirit realm.
Most temples in China have huge furnaces located outside that are used for the burning of Joss paper. This practice is thought to bring good luck to the living and human society in general. As per Chinese tradition, real money is never burned since burning real money can bring bad luck. Joss paper is used for cementing a respectful relationship between the living and the dead.