Saving scarce resources: Buried without gravestone or permanent urn
In Shanghai, there is a group of people who have decided to return to nature after they die, doing without a permanent urn or even gravestone. It's their choice to rest under trees and flowers to save the city's scarce land resources through eco-friendly burial.
On Thursday, 11 departed members of the Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club were interred in a fan-shaped flowerbed with each biodegradable urn occupying only 0.05 square meters at Fushouyuan Cemetery in suburban Qingpu District during a group burial ceremony before the Qingming Festival.
Chinese people pay respects to their ancestors during the time of the festival, which is also known as tomb-sweeping day and falls on April 5 this year.
They were put to rest under trees using biodegradable urns.
More than 100 club members bid a tearful goodbye to their fallen friends at the site.
The names of the departed were written on a commemorative board and those bidding farewell pasted "red flowers" on it, expressing their wishes as well as their unwillingness to see them depart.
A special concert was held by members of the club. Amid solemn music, they sang and recalled the lives of their deceased friends, applauding their optimistic spirit in fighting against cancer.
"Although only some members came to the site, with the rest watching via livestream and expressing condolences online, our hearts are together," said Yuan Zhengping, director of the club.
"The ashes were not maintained but the burial process ensures that they are leaving with utmost dignity," Fan Jun, who works at the cemetery, noted. "Biodegradable urns ensure recyclable use of land."
More than 100 members of the club have had their ashes interred at the tomb via an eco-friendly approach.