Burning iPhones, TVs and BMWs for the dead

While burning votive paper for the deceased is a long-held tradition in Vietnam, the northern village of Van Hoi is putting a modern spin on the age-old practice. Instead of providing standard paper money and clothing to burn as an offering to the dead, residents of Van Hoi have taken to crafting other, more elaborate material goods, including motorbikes and laptops, iPhones, villas and even airplanes. According to Le Van Chen, one of Van Hoi’s many votive paper craftsmen, orders in the village can run as high as VND50 million during busy times. Living relatives spare no expense in honouring their loved ones, and available purchases include everything from school clothes to wedding ceremonies and even votive paper wives for deceased men to marry in the afterlife.


Photo Tuio Tre