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At the joss paper store

For the third time in seventeen years, I travel home to celebrate Chinese New Year. Usually, I keep my visits to the summer months, when I could take extended time off without too much difficulty, but upon my grandmother’s request, I’m back for two weeks and pretty much entirely at her disposal.

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

In the run up to the Chinese New Year celebration and the preparation for family reunion dinner (and prayer), I accompanied her to a local joss paper store to stock up decorative items for the house as well as some supplies, like joss sticks, prayer papers, candles, “money” for the dead “in the Kingdom of Helheim” no less! It’s all part and parcel of the culture, but sometimes I feel guilty about all these burnings of offerings considering the dire state of our environment…

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

CNY preparation

I can’t say this cultural aspect of Chinese offerings to the gods and the deads are dying, even if I notice less and less of the younger generation practicing it. If anything, it seems there’s a proliferation of joss paper store in my hometown. There used to be two within a kilometer radius, which my great-grandmother would ask me to go and buy anything that she needed. Now, I’ve spotted at least five within the area, and these are only those that I have seen. Goodness knows how many more are hidden away somewhere?



Category: Culture

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2 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    and they are keeping up with times too…with the newest model of phones and appliances in paper form ;)

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