Posts tagged ‘death’

Money to Burn…

I went for a hike the other day north of the city. The hike involved some steep climbing in pristine wilderness with great views of this part of the country which is quite mountaineous.

As I started to descend, I walked through what seemed to be an ancient burial ground. That face of the mountain was covered with stone mounds and depressions in the ground where unmarked graves may have collapsed over time. I felt a bit eerie but also serene as the whole area was overgrown with lush wild flowers and grasses. These graves obviously must have been there a very long time.

The further I went down the mountain, the newer and better kept the graves seemed. This walk eventually led to a very new looking cemetery that came complete with very elaborate, almost goofy marble grave markers and family plots. I was now in a death suburbia. The wild flowers were replaced by mostly plastic flowers and the pristine feeling I felt was gone.

At the very base of the mountain were twelve large fire ovens used for the sole purpose of burning money to honour the dead. There were twelve ovens each corresponding to a specific Chinese Zodiac sign. Most people don’t burn real money when a loved one dies, but buy fake money or other paper representations that can be found almost everywhere. Sometimes this money is called “Spirit Money”.

The Chinese believe that when someone dies, his or her spirit goes to the afterlife, where it lives on. Surviving relatives want to send gifts to make the afterlife as comfortable as possible. Aside from intricate paper objects such as houses, cars, clothing, watches, mobile phones, appliances and even domestic helpers, “Spirit Money” is the most popular. Burning sends them on their way.

As I walked away from the mountain and down the road towards the city, the noise of the car horns and chaotic sounds were again all around and the pristine quiet of the mountain had all but vanished. I then thought to myself what all these people in the afterlife are now doing with their money and things that their family are sending them?

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August 21, 2006 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

Tuzi 2005-2006


A tragedy has occurred in our household yesterday. An event that has left us all in mourning, kids crying, the “big” questions about life being asked and general sadness and despair. This tragedy is the untimely demise of our little pet rabbit….

Tuzi (which means “rabbit” in pinyin) was a lovely pet and was absolutely adored by my three daughters. It was very affectionate and appeared smart but had a very nasty habit of chewing cables and wires of all sorts. Unfortunately the last wire it chewed was that of a live 220 volt electrical cord. We don’t believe it suffered and its relatively short life as a pet rabbit will not be forgotten.

March 1, 2006 at 7:25 am Leave a comment


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