Tomb sweepers maintain good order, avoid crowding
It is a quieter tribute over this year's dongzhi, or Winter Solstice, under strict COVID-19 prevention and control efforts across the city.
Cemeteries in Shanghai witnessed smooth order and no overcrowding and gathering on Saturday, the first day of this year's peak tomb sweeping days of dongzhi, under a mandatory reservation mechanism, local civil affairs authorities said.
Winter Solstice, like Qingming Festival, is a time when Chinese people pay respects to their ancestors. It falls on December 21 this year, and the four peak days of tomb sweeping in the city run from Saturday to Tuesday.
Tomb sweepers are required to make reservations prior to their visits to local tombs in a bid to prevent gatherings.
On Saturday, tombs in the city saw good order with the public following epidemic prevention and control requirements, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said.
Residents echoed the call for smoke-free tomb-sweeping, and used flowers to replace firecrackers and candles. "Online tomb-sweeping" is gradually winning acceptance, the bureau said.
The 54 cemeteries and columbariums in the city received 154,400 tomb sweepers on Saturday, and they brought an extra 32,100 vehicles onto streets. In total, 1,945 urns were interred.
Another 765 paid online tribute instead of offline visits on the day, and 156 families requested cemetery staff to sweep tombs for them, following procedures such as cleaning graves, bowing and laying flowers.
Online tomb sweepers are able to edit the biographical information of their deceased relatives, upload photos and videos, and offer virtual sacrifices and commemorative items.
Since December when the dongzhi tomb-sweeping period started, more than 660,000 people have visited local tombs, bringing an extra 131,700 vehicles onto the roads.
More than 7,200 "online memorial visits" have been made.
Meanwhile, some cemeteries and funeral parlors in the Yangtze River Delta region have joined in the nation's carbon neutrality campaign for the first time to cut carbon dioxide emission just before dongzhi.
Mashan Funeral Parlor in Xuancheng, Anhui Province, operated by funeral and interment service provider and cemetery operator Shanghai-based Fu Shou Yuan International Group, has been applying new types of intelligent and eco-friendly cremation equipment to curb emission.
While Fu Shou Yuan Cemetery in Qingpu District has completed the redemption of 1,093 tons of certified emission reduction to offset the greenhouse gas emission generated from its operation activities this year.