In Asia, people believe in the laws of karma and that's why many people go to pagodas every first day, 15th and the last day of the lunar month to pray for their health and luck... also for their family members who have passed away.
The thinking is that dead people also need the same stuff as living people so, on these special days, some people spend millions of dong on fake paper products, from a pair of shoes to air conditioners, even motobikes. But in certain cases and for people in high positions in society, there may be different ways to celebrate. Families who have very successful businesses are known to spend a fortune paying a service to organise the praying and provide the paper goods.
Last week, on the way down to the old quarter, I saw people transporting their stuff on a small truck to the temple to burn after their prayer session and it included lots of huge paper horses, elephants, angels and fake money. This is not the first time I've seen these stuff which is mostly seen during pagoda festivals which are held early in the year. This occasion in Yen Phu street was a private one as it was nowhere near a special lunar day.
Anyway, even though it looks good and provides a great photo opportunity, I think this practice is such a waste of money and the smoke produced by the fire is an environmental nightmare, especially on lunar days when everyone in town is burning paper.