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April 4, 2011

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How to burn a BMW

IT'S not enough to simply burn luxuries for the afterlife; in order to ensure that BMW arrives in the spirit world and gets to the right driver, there are certain rituals to be observed.

Here are some rules and customs described by various paper artifact sellers, including Wang Shufen, who runs a store on Xibaoxing Road. They say the rituals should be followed, otherwise the departed may not be able to receive houses, cars, wristwatches, computers and other essentials.

First, paper money and ingots are burned once a week after a death and other offerings, such as houses and cars, are burned on the 35th night.

Of course, if a dear departed one tells you in a dream that she wants a diamond tiara, then it's best that you listen.

Before burning the offerings, people should draw a circle on the ground around the artifacts. Then paper money should be burned outside the circle - this is for homeless spirits that otherwise might rob their relatives.

Then light the offerings in the circle.

"Legend has it that the spirit returns home on the 35th evening after death and stays home that night," Wang says.

Before midnight relatives should burn houses, basics and some of the deceased's clothing, so they can receive them in the other world.

Wang says people should pay attention to their dreams about a departed person.

"If they mention that they want or need something, then you should burn special offerings for them."


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