It's that time of month again... walking down the sidewalk, you take a deep breath of air and inhale a dark gray cloud of smoke... is there a fire in one of the stores?
Hmm... nope... and then you see them. All along the sidewalk, little red cans with holes in the side, and a fire belching out a smoke to the gods.
Beside the red can is a table full of tempting treats (I almost broke down and stole a big mac from the McDonalds table, I must confess).
I'm not sure about all the details (perhaps someone else knows more than me), but I believe that this has to do with inviting the gods in to smell the food on the table... then, after they smell the wonderful food, they bless the store and the store will make money... something like that.
L'OCCITANE; and I actually wonder if it doesn't have more to do with marketing (especially for McDonalds. Haagen Daaz, etc) than a true belief in the religion... especially since the store workers don't seem to be strong believers... but who am I to say? I could indeed be wrong.
I've always been too shy to ask the people burning the fake "god money" what is really going on and why this is tolerated by pedestrians on the sidewalks.
I guess I wouldn't mind the practice that much at all, actually, if it wasn't for the disgusting smoke that billows all around the sidewalk and even makes it's way into the subway sometimes.
Ah well, culture shocks aside, it is an interesting practice to watch.