Money to Burn

How do you transfer cash to family that have already passed through to the next life? According to Vietnamese tradition, the answer is simple: burn it!

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Actually this doesn’t apply only to money. You can buy cars, houses, even Luis Vuitton handbags to send to your loved ones in the afterlife. While it’s losing its popularity in the world of the living, one of the most popular things to send to heaven (or hell?) is the US dollar. You could burn the real thing, but you get a much better exchange rate on imitation dollars, which apparently take on the same value as the real thing once they’ve crossed the barrier.

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Here’s a couple of photographs of local Vietnamese in the middle of a transaction.

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Along with money and other paper items, people also send gifts of food (note the candy in the picture of the younger woman), and of course alcohol – no point having an afterlife if you can’t party there!

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