What is Ghost Money?

Welcome back, fellow humans 🙂 


Spirituality, ancestry and the afterlife are viewed and venerated differently in the Asian communities.

Ghost money is also known as ‘spirit money’, ‘heaven money’ or ‘hell money’ derived from Taoism and Buddhism, possibly extending back as far as 1600 BC. Archaeologists have found imitation metal money composed of lead and bronze, placed among the human remains in the tombs


Burning real money is perceived as inappropriate and unlucky in most Asian cultures. The use of copper ghost money is offered for newly deceased, gold ghost money is for the higher gods and silver ghost money is for familial spirits and local divinities. 

On the day of the Qingming Festival, Chinese people worship and burn the paper money at the graves of their ancestors to allow their deceased family members to have all the essentials needed for a well-furnished afterlife or presenting it as a payment to the Ruler of Hell for a temporary stay or to determine the fate of the living. The notes are left gracefully in a loose bundle or folded in a particular way before being cast into the fire. 

Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)

Thank you for reading, fellow humans. 🙂

43 thoughts on “What is Ghost Money?

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