Burning Paper Money - Things To Do in Hanoi - LikeALocal Guide

Burn Paper Money: A
Vietnamese Tet

Burning Paper Money

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Why locals love it

Multi-storied houses, luxury cars, motorbikes, laptops, toilets, servants, passports, rice cookers, TVs, other valuable items and of course, tons and tons of Benjamins go up in flames on the sidewalks of Vietnam. Not real ones, but paper models made from bamboo, collectively locally called hang ma (paper offerings). What does this signify?

Why you should visit it

Hell money/ghost money/spirit money…call it what ever you want. These are a form of joss paper resembling legal tender bank notes burnt as offerings to the deceased. It is essentially a way of showing respect to the dead that has become an important part of the culture.The practice of ancestor worship is largely religious, stemming from the belief.

Special tip

The burning of spirit money occurs on the first and 15th of every month based on the lunar calendar.

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1 Comment

Unfortunately, many studies have shown that burning large quantities of this paper emits a cocktail or harmful substances into the air including carcinogenic chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls and benzene — similar to the smoke emitted from incense, also widely used in religious rituals. It’s hard to tell what the fate of the endearing practice will be, as it is rather deeply rooted in Asian culture.
Expat
Local Guru
December 10, 2019

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