O-mikuji are random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Literally ‘sacred lot’, these are usually received by making a small offering of generally a five-yen coin as it is considered good luck and randomly choosing one from a box, hoping for the resulting fortune to be good. The o-mikuji is scrolled up or folded, and unrolling the piece of paper reveals the fortune written on it. It includes a general blessing with a fortune regarding specific aspects of one’s life.
During the wake of a death person, family and friends bring paper flower wreaths that have banners printed with verses or rhymes. They also give the family white envelopes holding money in odd amounts to help pay for the funeral and bring good luck to the dead person, with the largest amounts from family members. Family members fold prayer paper into the shape of as many Chinese coins as possible to bring more good luck to their loved one in the afterlife.
The use of spirit money in different rituals is deeply rooted in Asian culture. The bank notes can be printed in various styles, i.e. showing currencies like the Chinese Yuan, US Dollar, Thai Baht or Vietnamese Dong. The afterlife money is known for its large denomination, at times up to various billion dollars. The face of the note often sports a portrait of the Jade Emperor and the reverse an image of the ‘Bank of Hell’. It is meant for use by the more recently dead and other relatives and as an offering to the Judge of the Dead. The use of the English word ‘Hell’ in the ‘Bank of Hell’ and ‘Hell Money’ is probably an imperfect reference to the underworld and the court of the dead. Upon death, all souls are first sent to the underworld where their eternal fate is determined by the judge Yan Wang. The ghost money is intended, in part, as a gratuity of sorts to the judge in the hope that he will adjudicate their ancestors case favorably and lighten the length of their stay in the underworld.
Joss Paper, also known as ghost money or spirit money , are sheets of paper & paper-crafts made into burnt offerings which are common in traditional Chinese religious practices including the veneration of the deceased on holidays and special occasions. Joss paper are also burned in traditional Chinese funerals, to ensure that the spirit of the deceased has lots of good things in the afterlife.