lifestyle

42 Bizarre Items Chinese People Burn For Their Ancestors During Qing Ming

Our ancestors are totally living the high life in the, uh, afterlife.

Cover image via Instagram @jonni_long / Josh Awang Lee Facebook

Once a year during Ching Ming, millions of Chinese people come together to visit the resting place of their ancestors to pay their respects as well as to honour the dearly departed

Image via Visit Penang

Also known as Tomb-sweeping Festival in English, relatives and friends would visit the burial ground or columbaria of their late loved ones to clean the graves as well as to provide offerings such as the departed's favourite food, joss sticks, hell notes, and gold bars for the afterlife. 

As a Chinese person who celebrates Cheng Beng (as we Hokkiens call it), one of the things I found most intriguing about the festival is the increasingly outlandish paper offerings we'd burn for our ancestors to use in the afterlife

Image via Rice Paper Kite

In the past few years, such paper offerings have evolved beyond basic paper necessities to fit in with the times. Aside from everyday items like clothes and shoes as well as luxury goods like Rolex watches, gold jewellery, and branded handbags, you can also find pretty funky stuff like MacBook Pros, sports cars, mansions with servants, safe deposit boxes, lingerie, and even beauty products. 

And yep, they're all made of paper. 

Without further ado, here are some of the most outlandish (and sometimes, totally unexpected) things Chinese people burn for their ancestors:

1. A new mansion, complete with servants, a private pool, pets, and at least two sports cars

2. Start decorating the new mansion with this furniture starter kit, which comes with a fridge, hi-fi set, washing machine, and a dishwasher they'll probably never use

Let's be real. Chinese people don't use dishwashers; we use it to dry our hand-washed plates.

3. A bedroom set with Burberry-esque bedsheets. Fancy.

4. Amp up their level of comfort with these luxe massagers

Image via Localiiz

5. Tailored suits for the gents, inclusive of designer ties, belts, socks, and matching accessories

6. Pretty blouses for the ladies...

Image via Buddhist Bugs
Image via Buddhist Bugs

7. ... And, er, floral lingerie

8. Shoes of all kinds. Slippers, sandals, running shoes, sneakers, leather shoes, heels... you name it, they have it.

9. High-end designer bags for the Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang... (sorry)

Image via Localiiz
Image via TallyPress

10. It's gold or nothing in these fashion accessory sets, which come with all sorts of jewellery, branded wallets and watches, and credit cards for your ancestors to purchase more stuff

Image via Cilisos

11. A solid safe for your ancestors to keep all their valuables in

Image via Localiiz

12. Don't let your ancestors fall behind in the latest technology with the brand-new MacBook Pro...

Image via Taobao
Image via Taobao

13. ... and the latest mobile gadgets, complete with charging cables, earphones, SD cards, and even power banks!

Image via Localiiz
Image via Cilisos

14. Your ancestors need to get around in the afterlife too. How about a luxury car for starters? :D

Image via Facebook

Don't worry if your ancestors can't drive, the car comes with a personal driver AND road tax!

15. Too basic? Consider this life-sized Lamborghini with a customised number plate...

16. ... Or a life-sized eight-seater?

17. If your late loved one is more of a free spirit, maybe these sweet two-wheelers would be a better option

18. Your ancestors will never have to worry about petrol price hikes, coz - well - they have their own petrol station... :p

19. Travel in the afterlife is not just restricted to land. Check out this swanky yacht:

Image via Localiiz

20. Now everyone can fly in the afterlife, especially if you have your own helicopter...

Image via Taobao

21. ... Or a private jet!

Bonus - the afterlife flight package includes flight tickets, passports, travel insurance, traveller's cheque books, public transport tickets, and VIP credit cards. Talk about travelling in style! 

22. With an eternity ahead, the dead need some entertainment to fill their days. They may have yet to get Netflix, but satellite service and a home theatre system probably work just as well...

Image via Cilisos
Image via Localiiz

23. Your ancestors will definitely appreciate having these playing cards and mahjong sets when their friends come over

24. Guess you now know what to burn for an ancestor who loves going to horse races...

Image via Localiiz

25. OMG they have concert tickets. TO WATCH LATE SINGERS.

Image via Facebook

26. Just because they're dead, doesn't mean there's no occasion to pretty up. Here's a vintage beauty kit for your poh poh who can't live without her bedak:

27. No Sephora? No problem!

28. Plus an extra comprehensive range of SK-III for both your female and male ancestors

29. There's also an assortment of pets for departed loved ones who were pet lovers (pet food included!)

Image via Wanbao
Image via TallyPress

30. Aww... the paper effigy makers have also created toys for those who have passed on too young. :')

31. Cigarettes (or cigars and tobacco pipes) for ancestors who couldn't quite shake off the habit in life

Image via Localiiz

32. Better make sure their "first aid kit" of traditional ointments and medicines are fully stocked

Image via Cilisos

33. Guys. There's a whole selection of food and drink made out of paper too! For example, Milo and biscuits for tea time...

Image via Poskod.my

34. Canned drinks (yep, alcoholic ones included)

Image via Cilisos
Image via Tallypress

35. High quality liquor with ginseng and abalone

36. Roasted meats for your ancestors to feast on day after day

Image via Cilisos

37. Sushi and lobsters and miscellaneous seafood

38. There's also McDonald's. With fries and pies and stuff.

Image via Localiiz
Image via imgur.com

39. Oh, they have chocolates too. Our ancestors sure are living the high life, y'all.

Image via Localiiz

40. After all that delicious food and drink, here's a dental kit for your ancestors to clean their teeth (both real and/or fake)

Image via Localiiz
Image via Tallypress

41. If you're worried that they'll run out of supplies before the next Ching Ming, you might wanna send over some shop lots too

Image via postimg.org
Image via postimg.org
Image via postimg.org

42. And finally, a bank so they'll never run out of funds

What other outlandish things have you seen people burn for Ching Ming? Share it with us in the comments section below!

For centuries, millions of Chinese have called Malaysia home since their ancestors settled here as early as the 15th century:

The Hokkiens form the largest Chinese community in Malaysia. Strangely, they've also adopted several Malay words into the lexicon, especially in Penang: