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What is Joss paper...

Joss paper display

The offering of spirit- or ghost-money to gods, ghosts, and ancestors has been an important Chinese ritual practice for over a thousand years.


Joss Paper are sheets of paper that are burned in traditional Chinese deity or ancestor worship ceremonies during special date or event. There are many kind of Joss Paper use for different occasion. E.g. Chinese New Year, Joss paper for buddha, Joss paper for pass away people (at traditional Chinese funerals).

Joss paper is traditionally made from coarse bamboo paper, although rice paper is also commonly used. Traditional joss is cut into individual squares or rectangles. Each square of paper has either a thin piece of square foil glued to its center or it may be endorsed with a red ink seal from a traditional Chinese seal.

More contemporary or westernized varieties of Joss paper include Hell Bank Notes, as well as paper mache shoes, clothes, houses, cars, toiletries, and servants anything you can think of.

Depending on the type and status of the deity being worshiped, paper with metal foil or with ink seals of various sizes may be burned. Different regions of the world have preferences on the type of Joss paper that is used. For instance, Hell Bank Notes are commonly found in regions where Cantonese populations dominate but are rarely seen or used in places such as Taiwan or Macao, which use "gold paper" shaped like ingots or towers. The Joss paper is folded in half, or folded into a shape of a gold ingot before being burned in an earthenware pot or a specially built chimney. Joss paper burning is usually the last performed act in Chinese deity or ancestor worship ceremonies.

Joss sticks
Burning the Joss paper
Yuen Bao model Joss paper

Burn the Joss paper Click here

By  Karina  Smigla Bobinski