The Hot New Sacrifice for Tomb Sweeping Day: Paper iPhone

It’s almost April 4th, meaning that 清明节 (qīng míng jié), aka “Tomb Sweeping Day” is almost upon us.

This is the holiday when Chinese people go back to their ancestors’ graves to pay their respects. Traditionally, people burn sacrificial offerings (祭品 – jì pǐn) — like paper money, paper houses, or even paper cars — so that their ancestors can enjoy them in the afterlife.

But this year, there’s a hot new sacrificial offering: the paper iPhone. 

And Chinese netizens on Weibo are all over it under the hashtag #纸糊iPhone成清明祭品# (“Paper iPhone becomes Tomb Sweeping Day Sacrificial Offering”).

Here’s a breakdown of the words:

纸(zhǐ): paper

糊(hú): paste or glue

成(chéng): to become

清明(qīng míng): Tomb Sweeping Day

祭品(jì pǐn): sacrificial offering

And here are our 5 favorite Weibo comments on this phenomenon:

1) “The goal of burning iPhones is to let our ancestors enjoy the progress of society”


2) “Question: You burn the Apple iPhone on Qingmingjie worrying that your ancestors won’t be able to use it.  The boss in the sacrificial store is looking at you funny — Jobs is already down there teaching everyone – what are you worrying about?”


烧(shāo): to burn

苹果(píng guǒ): Apple

手机(shǒu jī): cell-phone

祖先(zǔ xiān): ancestors

白了一眼(bái le yī yǎn): a look you give when disagreeing strongly

瞎操心(xiā cāo xīn): to worry for no good reason

3) “We also need to burn some guys who develop apps and send them down”


应用(yìng yòng):  an app

开发(kāi fā): to develop

4) “What if our ancestors want to do facetime with us, what should we do?” 


5) “Those who burn iPhones but don’t burn battery chargers lack respect for their ancestors”


Are you burning anything this week?

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