The Hungry Ghost Festival is here and everyone’s on high alert. Known as the time where ghosts are roaming free, elders are advising little ones to come home before dark, avoid whistling and hanging up wind-chimes, and to close the front door to prevent any unwanted visitors.
One of the most famous rituals during this time is the burning of joss paper as offerings to ancestors in the afterlife.
Usually, believers would burn pictures of money, extravagant cars, food and mansions to give to those on the other side but now, with the heightening paranoia surrounding COVID-19, it seems like people are burning paper face masks too!
In Hong Kong, a shop started selling joss paper masks to protect deceased loved ones from… contracting the deadly virus?
According Mothership.sg, an image of the joss paper masks was posted in the Complaint Singapore Facebook page with the caption, “Ghost month coming soon, anyone need mask can pm me 😜”.
The Chinese words, xian ren kou zhao, on the packaging, roughly means “ancestor’s masks”. The news site said the packet apparently cost $10.
Most likely the store owner recognised the current craze revolving face masks and decided, why not? The paper masks were even aptly labelled “masks for ancestors”. I guess one could never be too careful while roaming the streets nowadays, even if you’re a ghost.
Let’s just hope there’s no RM1,000 fine for ghosts who aren’t wearing them!