Joss paper is burned in mass quantities during the observance of Ghost Month, resulting in large-scale emissions of smoke, ash and flue gas. In Singapore, for example, the first day of Ghost Month is jokingly referred to as National Pollution Day.
The volume of these emissions has led to the need for environmental regulations for religious ceremonies. It has even spawned a new industry for electronic and low-emission Joss paper burners.
I am coming to appreciate the exuberance with which Joss paper is burned during the Hungry Ghost Festival, and I find myself thinking about the Burning Man Festival. Some of us have a need to play with fire. Actually, a lot of us do.
PS. Each piece of Joss paper is designed with meaning, purpose, and a prescribed use. We’ve found some helpful websites and have shared those links over here.