Common types of Joss Papers are:
1) Gold Joss Paper (金纸)
2) Silver Joss Paper (银纸)
3) Gold Joss Paper with Fu-Lu-Shou Image (寿金)
There are several types of joss papers. Some type of joss papers are meant to offer to the deity levels. Some types of joss papers are burnt to the ancestors, and some types of joss papers are burnt to the ghosts / wandering spirits.
Different combination of joss papers are now packed in specific sets accordingly to offer to the respective specific deities, so You no need to head-ache about what to buy (or order) to pray to a particular deity.
Why Joss Papers?
When seek blessing or seek help, it is better to offer 1st and don't visit someone empty-handed.
Can Gods & Ghosts received them?
If You go and seek direct help from a Deity (during spirit medium possession by a Tang-Ki), the deity may instruct You to burn some Joss Papers to pray to a particular deity, or as offering to the ghosts/ wandering spirits whom You have offended.
If You go, or have visited a Taoist Master / Sorcerer to do a ritual, he or she may / might have instructed You to burn some Joss Papers to pray to the Dieties, or specifically pray to a particular deity, or as offering to the ghosts/ wandering spirits.
Common Usage of Joss Papers
- Praying to Deities
- Welcoming Deities
- Sending Off Deities
- Praying to Ancestors
- Offering to ghosts & wandering spirits
- Chinese Hungry Ghosts Festival
- Chinese Funerals
- Moving into new house
- Moving into new business premise
- Starting new construction project on a new ground (动土 - Move Soil)
- During Taoist Rituals
- During Taoist Sorcery
When to burn Joss Papers?
- Every 1st and 15th of Chinese Lunar Month
- Birthday of the particular deity
- Remembrance Day (Day Of Passing) of the deceased / ancestor
- Farewell Day for Gods Of Stove (Kitchen God) on the 24th lunar day of 12th month
- 1st Day, 15th Day of Chinese New Year
- 1st Day, 15th Day and last Day of Chinese Hungry Ghosts Festival
- Qing Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, Clear and Bright Festival)
1) During Remembrance day (Day Of Passing) of the particular deceased / ancestor
2) During Halloween, burn joss papers to the wandering spirits
3) If You have set up a prayer corner / altar of a Chinese Deity in Your home or Office, You may burn Joss Papers on every 1st and 15th of Chinese Lunar Month and on the Birthday / Manifestation Day of that particular Deity.
How to burn Joss Papers?
Put the food /fruits and Joss Papers offering in front of the deity altar, or on the ground (if offerings are for ghosts / wandering spirits). Then light up incense sticks and say your prayer / wishes.
About 5 minutes / 10 minutes or much later, depend on your liking (before the joss sticks finish burning!), bring up the joss papers with both hands, pray to the deities, ancestors, ghosts / wandering spirits, say "I am burning the joss papers to You all" .
Then go outside, to the open space, and burn the joss papers in the metal tin / metal container.
Burning Joss Papers - A Waste of Money?
Imagine... By just burning some Joss Papers occasionally to the deities or ghosts / wandering spirits, and Your wishes keep come true or You are blessed with luck, and keep striking the lottery, how much is the R.O.I?