Vietnamese burn private jets, fancy cars and villas for their ancestors

By Hoang Hoang   August 12, 2016 | 03:35 pm PT
Not a scene from Dubai, the people of Vietnam (with their limited allowance) know how to 'live' it up.

With the Hungry Ghost Festival month upon us, the market for various paper replicas ranging from jewelry and fake money to cars, airplanes, electronic gadgets and luxury villas is heating up - literally.

Considered Vietnam's Halloween, the Hungry Ghost Festival falls on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month (this year it falls on August 17). According to traditional belief, the gates of hell open at the beginning of the month to free hungry, homeless ghosts and spirits into the human world.

During this time, Vietnamese try to appease the unfortunate souls for fear of them causing trouble by making offerings like popcorn, rice, salt and porridge.

As for the ancestors, the living welcome them with a feast, money and presents. This explains the long standing tradition of burning replica money to send to the next life where the ancestors will be able to use it. Vietnamese believe that the afterlife is essentially the same as living world.

But that was in the past. Modernization has brought with it hi-tech gadgets and Vietnamese are trying to upgrade their ancestors’ afterlives to a whole new level. Didn’t get to ride the latest Porsche 911 or have a Bombardier private jet in this life? Now you have a chance, sooner or later.


A brand new iPhone 6 Plus comes with a Rolex, designer sunglasses, credit cards and even a shaver, all packed in a fake gold plated box.


Credit cards go in bulk (Bank of Hell written on top). There should be places like New York, Las Vegas or Ibiza in hell for these cards to be fully appreciated.


A Su-30 fighter jet? Why not? There is plenty of time to learn a few new tricks. Surely our great grandparents (and us) would make good use of them.


Imported pricey motorbikes. Normally these bikes would cost $8,000 - $9,000 right out of the window, but the paper replicas only cost at most VND200,000 ($10). Talk about a good investment.


Toyota, Porsche, Mercedes, Range are all over the place. And they only come at a price of VND50,000 ($2.5) each. “We are trying to improve our products so that they look as close to the real ones as possible,” the owner of the shop said.

Photos by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

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