Why do people burn money & effigies in Vietnam?

On the anniversary of the death of a family member (giỗ) , or at special times of the year such as Kitchen Gods’ Day, Vietnamese people usually buy a bundle of replica money (đô la âm phủ) and paper versions of horses, cars, clothes, mobile phones, jewelry and even credit cards to burn outside their homes. By burning the paper goods, they are making them accessible to their ancestors. The practice was actually banned by the government during the 1970s because it was regarded as wasteful and it didn’t fit with socialist ideology, and only became acceptable again after Doi Moi. During the past decade, some local councils around the country have tried to ban the burning of joss paper in the interests of public cleanliness but the practise has persisted. A few weeks ago, the practise was condemned by a number of leading Buddhists monks in Hanoi, who declared that the burning of paper iPhones and the like is ostentatious and contrary to the doctrines of Buddhism.


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