BLOG – Hong Kong’s Weirdest Joss Paper Offerings 3


Each year, more outlandish and creative contemporary joss paper designs (or ‘zhizha’ in Putonghua) appear in shops… Offerings at the stores along Queen’s Road West in Sai Wan include a paper fido for the furnace…

As well as the ever popular Hell Bank Notes, paper credit cards and cheques, Hong Kongers can now purchase papier-mache clothes, houses, toiletries, gadgets and even viagra tablets, servants and shaving kits to burn in honour of their ancestors…

Long-gone family members can enjoy the conveniences of modern life in the afterlife, such as hifi systems and massage chairs…

The designs range from simple iphones (the most popular offering nowadays)…

…to more elaborate or customised constructions, like this racetrack and housing development…

In 2006, Dou Yupei, China’s deputy minister for civil affairs, responded to the burning of ‘messy sacrificial items’, banning more extreme forms of joss paper in order to ‘extinguish feudal superstition‘ in the mainland.

Usually burnt on holidays and special occasions, burning also occurs at traditional Chinese funerals ‘to ensure that the spirit of the deceased has lots of good things in the afterlife’.

The practice of Feng Shui, prayer and sacrifice of more tangible items (like food, fruit, incense and candles) also form part of ancestor veneration in tradtional Chinese culture.

The Hungry Ghost Festival, or Yu Lan, is a particularly popular time for joss paper burning in Hong Kong, though road-side offerings can be seen daily around the city.

As well as standard TV sets, shoppers can upgrade to flat-screen options with games consoles available separately…

And who would be seen dead without a range of Louis Vuitton footwear…

Sacrificial slap-up meals are on offer…

…as well as some favourite snacks…

…and a little something special for Grandad…

Gambling is clearly legal in heaven…

And if you’re concerned about appropriate climate control or fear your loved ones have perhaps ended up in more fiery climes, then why not send up (or down) an air-conditioning unit?…

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Traditional Hell Bank Notes are available by the million in every possible denomination, currency and variation…

Taking no chances, many of the stores also rely on lucky money cats to entice custom…

This shop had been trading for over 30 years. And no moma-and-papa store would be complete without a ‘shop cat’ or two…

There are a cluster of joss paper shops around 160 Queen’s Road West in Sai Wan. They are open all year round…





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