1. Where Ghost money come from?

Vietnamese spiritual life includes our belief on the deads and their life in another world, in Vietnamese culture if ones forget to worship their ancestors, it means they forget their origin, in vie. The using of Ghost money, Spirit money or money for the deads is deeply rooted in Asian culture.

2.The definition of ghost money:

Ghost money or Spirit money traditionally made from bamboo, emits large quantities of carcinogenic chemicals such as carboxyls, carbonyls, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Each kind of joss money are rather different; sometimes they look like the real money of people. Westernized varieties include copies of Bank notes (Thai Baht, Chinese Yuan, US Dollar, or even the Vietnamese Dong, paper credit cards and cheques). Some believers even go as far as offering papier-mâché cars, motorbikes, houses, toilets, servants, iPhones, IPads, passports, flight tickets, rice cookers and even flat-screen TVs. The bank notes are specifically used for dead ancestors to give as a tribute to the God of Death for a short stay or to avoid punishment. The copies of bank note are often of fulsome denominations – they can range anywhere between $5,000 and $1,000,000. This money carries a picture of the ‘Bank of the Hell’ on the back. ‘Hell’ in itself is not viewed as a place of lucky things, but a more neutral realm.

Burning Ghost Money In Vietnam - paper stuff

Ghost money and paper stuff


3.  The belief of ghost of Vietnamese people:

Setting ghost money on fire and votive paper such as hats, clothes, shoes, cars, houses, toiletries and toys are popular from the north to south of Vietnam. Exceptions to this tradition are Protestants, Roman Catholics, Protestants and some others religions, which mostly come from the Western culture and account for less than 10% of the Vietnamese population.

Burning Ghost Money In Vietnam

The ghost money is believed to be saved in an afterlife bank of sorts, from where the ancestor can make a withdrawal. The ritual is considered to be derived from a mix of the region between Taoism and folklore. The practice of ancestor worshiping is largely religious, stemming from the fact that the deceased spirits still have an interest in the affairs of the world. If we can make them Keeping happy they will bring blessings from for the living. Another explanation for the concept is that the living will be allowed to ask spirits to fulfill their wishes or for which they are indebted. This debt may not be entirely pay off while they were alive, so the ghost money sent after death will be used to pay for whatever they owe the spirits.

4. How do Vietnamese people use Ghost money?

Ghost money has many different ways of using; however, it is usually used as a symbol of payment or transformation of spiritual debts. The paper used as “money” after burning will become spirit money when they are used as symbolic offerings to ghosts, gods, and ancestors. The using of ghost money for the deads allows it to be transferred to ancestors, gods, and ghosts to be used as real currency in the other realm. Moreover, spirit money is an important thing in association with the offering of food to some ancestors, ghosts, and gods. The offering of food servers will bring the ancestors and other beings in the other world closer to the family more and more. It serves as a bonding tool to make both worlds closer together. This can be seen in many different cultures all around the world where dinners, feasts, and other social events use money to make the community close together. Ghost money, on the other hand, serves to separate the living world from the world of ancestor, gods, and ghosts. It will be not natural to have both of these worlds in close connection with each other. The use of Ghost money is very alike to how we use money in our life today. It is practically used as a tool to maintain a certain level of distance between two worlds during a transaction. The concepts of money and food correlate directly to the offerings ancestors, gods and ghosts, We use money to separate them from us and food to bring them close to us.

A Man Is Burning Ghost Money

Vietnamese people celebrate spiritual practices on the first and fifteenth day of every month of the lunar calendar. They burn ghost money and incense sticks in front of their home as offerings to gods, Buddha, and the ancestors. They simply pray for happiness, good luck,  and pay their respect to ancestors. These rituals are also often performed at Vietnamese funerals or on the anniversaries of the deaths of family members and relatives each year.Ghost money is often used in many differing activities in Vietnam. For example, the important role of Ghost money is to repay the debts of family ancestors. The spirit of the ancestor must obtain fate and body to pursue it karmic course. Nevertheless, to do that, it must pay its mystical debt that accumulates over a person’s life

This basic explains why people burn such large amounts of Ghost money at funerals or some anniversaries which is related with the deads Because no one in their life ever completes succeeds in repaying his or her celestial debt. their descendants have to pay for them after their death. their descendants attempt to clear off this debt by praying and making monetary donations to the pagoda and temples. Nevertheless, no one can have enough time pay off their debts entirely while they are still alive, so their alive family members have to burn Ghost money which is transmitted to their deceased family member. The deceased family member will use this spirit money to help them embarks on their karmic journey by paying down the remainder of their debt.

Vietnamese people have been burning Ghost money since they were kids, step by step, the kids learn this tradition from their parents. They throw the money into it a heavy and big cylinder, made of metal or something like that and put that in front of the house and burn the paper money and paper stuff. Inside their house, they have the altar where they use to burn incense and pray to the dead.