Photographer's Note

This is no ordinary car. The traditional Chinese art of 'dzidzat' means burning of paper. They believe that when someone dies, they live on in an afterlife. Like when I asked a local friend about her father, not knowing that he had passed away, she replied "He lives down below" - in an afterlife.

This ceremony is probably the most important part of a funeral because it reflects how much the family cares about the deceased and how wealthy they are. These paper and cardboard copies of money, clothing, possessions, houses, cars, chauffeurs, maids and body guards for example are to serve the deceased in the afterlife. Burning these passes them to the spirit realm. As with real money, the more you burn the richer you are and the happier the deceased will be; and if you don't burn enough, the spirit will keep haunting you, until you do!

This is what they burn:
Hell banknote:

A car like this one would cost something like 400USD! (The number plate adds to the high price see below).

I guess it is a strange practice - but would you rather be burnt and kept in a jar die? Or live on as a millionaire 'below'?!

Tech: cropped and rotated slightly; sharpened.


Number plate: As mentioned, the number plate also adds to the value - because the Chinese believe in the symbolic meaning of numbers.

#8 = Fortune or Rich
#1 sounds like the Chinese word meaning 'day'; and 11 meaning 'everyday'.

8118 would then mean 'Plenty of Fortune and Richness everyday'. Those who can afford such nice numbers will generally leave the number plate blank.

It is also worth mentioning that the 'dzidzat' business here in Hong Kong is run by a select few families. They believe that the people doing this business are special in that they cannot be affected by the spirits (they're probably just less paranoid!!).

Vagabond, torben, RGatward has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: SK Daswani (WoodPigeon) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 65 W: 3 N: 63] (457)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Black & White
  • Date Taken: 2004-06-01
  • Categories: Ceremony
  • Exposure: f/2, 1/10 seconds
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2004-06-06 3:57
Viewed: 2326
Points: 5
  • None
Additional Photos by SK Daswani (WoodPigeon) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 65 W: 3 N: 63] (457)
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