The culture of burning joss paper in Malaysia

Joss paper or spirit money or glost money as they are most commonly known as, are offerings dedicated to the deceased or passed ancestors, family, and friends. Certain rituals also use 银纸批发 to promote fertility, settle karmic debts, and for the promotion of prosperity.

The different types of joss papers that are in use:

Silver and gold foil joss paper:

  • The most common variety
  • Made from bamboo paper of coarse quality
  • Have s silver or gold square in the center.
  • Used during ancestor’s birthdays, funerals, hungry ghosts, and Qingming Festival.
  • Used for sending currency or materialistic items to the afterlife.

Large silver and gold foil

  • Similar to the smaller one but with the presence of a larger foil on paper.
  • The function is identical to the smaller one
  • Burned after folding or in the original form.

Heaven and hell banknotes

  • Observed in modern rituals
  • Made to resemble legal tenders
  • Referred to as hell bank notes
  • Come in Chinese yuan, US dollars etc.
  • Used to provide offerings to the king of Hell.
  • Features jade emperor on the front and bank of heaven and Hell on the back
  • Very affordable

Longevity paper

  • Has a gold foil on top of the paper.
  • Adorned with Chinese characters which signify longevity.
  • Symbolizes prosperity, smooth sailing, and wisdom.
  • Used for praying to spirits and Gods.

Crafts made of joss paper

Relatives of the deceased may sometimes fold the joss paper in a manner to imply clothes, houses, cars, etc. The aim here is to provide the dead relatives with material goods so that they can use those items in their afterlife and have a comfortable existence in the spirit realm.

Gui Ren Fu

Translates to the Talisman of ushering in deities of fortune and prosperity. Gui Ren refers to someone who is of a massive help to you. Gui Ren Fu is needed to invite the blessings of divination to help ordinary people carry on with their everyday endeavors.

  • Comes in yellow and red
  • Each joss paper has a different purpose to serve
  • Burning of the Gui Ren Fu requires the user to perform specific requirements and steps.

Jin Yuan Bao

  • Represents great wealth
  • Burnt along with hell money in Hungry Ghost and Qingming festivals.

In Malaysia, joss paper Malaysia is burnt as a part of the moral responsibility of the living towards the dead ancestors. Responsibility towards the elderly and parents has been heavily ingrained from childhood. Joss paper symbolizes goods and wealth. When joss paper is burnt, it releases the dead and allows them to move on in their afterlife. These are also used as a tribute or as offering to the king of Hell so that the spirit of the person who died may find release from punishment and be reborn.

Sometimes joss money is used to directly provide materialistic items to the dead to assist in comfortable living in the afterlife. The different forms that the joss money is folded into represents other symbolic gesture.

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