Millions visit local cemeteries on dongzhi
More than 1 million visits were paid to city cemeteries over the weekend as people showed their respects to their ancestors during dongzhi, the winter solstice, bringing traffic congestion to some areas.
On Saturday, 997,000 visits were reported by the city’s 44 cemeteries and 10 columbariums, up 19.3 percent from last year despite rain, and bringing an extra 130,000 vehicles onto the streets, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
A total of 14,000 urns were interred on Saturday, an increase of 6.9 percent.
When dongzhi falls on a weekend it brings huge traffic pressure. At 6:45am on Saturday, almost all 1,300 parking spaces near Songhe Cemetery in Jiading District were occupied. More than 60 shuttle buses ran between Shanghai Circuit Station on Metro Line 11 and the cemetery. There were 1,500 workers at the cemetery on Saturday, 10 times more than normal.
Expressways and roads leading to Fushouyuan Cemetery in Qingpu District were clogged and it took more than 30 minutes to get out of cemetery parking lots.
Binhai Guyuan Cemetery, Baoluo Mingyuan Cemetery and Xianheyuan Cemetery had the largest number of visitors.
Extra traffic police officers were at their posts on Saturday. In the Pudong New Area, police used drones to assist in managing the crowds.
Overall, more than 2 million visits have been recorded by cemeteries in the city since December 15 when the tomb sweeping peak started, down 4.7 percent from the same period last year, partly attributed to appeals for residents to go at other times.
Metro Lines 2 and 11 ran extra trains and stations close to cemeteries had extra staff. At Jiading West Station on Line 11 station staff prepared ginger tea for passengers.