Burning votive papers in Vietnam

Burning votive papers in Vietnam is a tradition without being able to determine the origin despite the different explanations. Anyway, when people are dead, family members want the dead to have a better life in another world.

Vietnamese people believe in general that the dead have a life in the Source of Gold. So that the objects in form of paper that the livings offer to the dead are burned. Over time, at the present time, burning the votive paper in Vietnam is gradually becoming a tradition.

Burning votive papers in Vietnam

When we burn the votive papers for the dead in Vietnam?

The story of burning votive papers can cause controversy easily. At the arrival of the important days of the Vietnamese people like: birthday of the death, Tet Holiday, 14-15th day of lunar January, 14-15th day in lunar July... we burn the votive papers to offer to the dead in order to feel more relaxed and more tranquil.

On the occasion of ceremonies or other festivals of the year: we want to show respect to the Gods. In addition to offering such as food... most people also buy products in votive paper. These products are quite diverse with many types of patterns and are burnt at the end of the ceremony.

What are the products made from votive paper? What do we burn exactly?

The livings buy the utensils, the tools, the objects made from paper. These objects symbolize the necessary things for life on the other world of the dead or simply the things that the dead love in their lifetime. So, traditionally, the products of votive paper are: blanket, sandals, pillow, hat, garment....

Life changes over time. Now, we see the "modern objects" among the products of votive papers: Car, smart phone, villa, motorbike... But why not as people argues.

Burning votive papers in Vietnam

The votive papers can be burned directly in front of tomb of the deceased, in front of the altar of the ancestors, in the courtyard, even in the garden, in the ovens arranged at most of the temples. When people burn objects made from votive papers, they think about to the dead, murmur the messages they wants to transmit to the dead ... Once the products of votive papers finish burning, they often pour a small cup of rice alcohol on the ashes by thinking that this action helps the dead to receive more easily the votive paper products.

Tradition of burning votive papers during the "modern era"

At the arrival of the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, along the streets in Hanoi specializing in the sale of votive paper products for the dead such as Hang Ma Street, Cot Village, Luong Van Can Street ... the trade of this kind of product is very animated. In markets of all sizes, we can also see full of votive paper products to offer to the dead.

Burning votive papers in Vietnam

In the past, votive papers products were clothing, horses, money...so now there are houses, '' technological products ''... in order to meet the conception: life is like the death. Ms. Nhan, who owns a votive product factory in Hanoi, said: "According to the concept, when we are dead, we also need the same things as if we were living but things must be made of paper ...

There are people who believe that the tradition of burning votive paper in Vietnam must be eliminated because it pollutes the environment; it causes waste and there is no evidence to show that there is another world after death...

Burning votive papers in Vietnam

According to an expert of spiritual culture who spent many years studying the history of burning the votive papers, this tradition is at the origin of the existing spiritual conception. With the conception of life and death, respect for the Gods, transmission from generation to generation ... the culture of burning the votive papers in Vietnam becomes a social custom. This proves that people believe in the existence of the Gods as well as the existence of the souls of the dead and that many people want to find ways to communicate with these souls through the tradition of burning papers in votives.

Therefore, when people burn incense to pray, they believe that their prayers follow the smoke of incense until the gods, grandparents, ancestors ... The fact of burning the votive papers is quite similar. Death does not end life. The dead come to live in another world. The living believe that the dead also need a life which needs to be so happy, prosperous ... It is for this very human reason that it is difficult to separate the tradition of burning the votive papers in Vietnam from the traditional beliefs of its peoples.