Paper Goods and the Afterlife 2016-03-09
The Chinese traditionally believe that after death, people will go to another world. Those of us who are still in living world are connected with the other world through the burning of fire. Therefore, when temples are in the midst of worship, they will burn incense and gold paper as sacrifices. It is believed that through fire, we can transmit the desires of the human world to the gods or our deceased ancestors.
 
The dead are believed to reside in a world that is nearly identical to the one we currently live in. But there is a great demand for clothing, food, entertainment, and basic needs. We want our deceased relatives to be happy and satisfied in their world, so paper is used to make daily necessities such as clothes, money, housing, and other goods. These paper goods are burned in the hopes that they will live better, and more luxuriously.
 
 
 
 In addition to basic necessities made of paper, items that the departed once enjoyed during life will also be prepared: they may be items such as a guitar, piano, computer, electronics, sporting goods, and so on. When the late singer Anita Mui died, a table-sized stage made out of paper was prepared just for her, so that she could continue to sing and perform in the afterlife!
 
 
Although the afterlife may be just a product of our imaginations, these thoughts allow us to find comfort from our sorrows. Therefore, these paper offerings are a way to convey our feelings of longing and love towards our deceased relatives.
 
Image Sources:
  • http://rthk.hk/chiculture/bamboocraft/c3_showcase.htm
  • http://w.mtwebcenters.com.tw/yuanhong/ecommerce/c-c/c-c-c-a/.html
  • http://iphone4.tw/forums/showthread.php?t=3651