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Chinese turn to greener tomb-sweeping

During the Qingming Festival, Chinese custom calls for burning fake money or set off fireworks as an offering to loved ones who’ve passed away. But as times change, more and more people are turning to some environmentally-friendly ways to pay their respects.

Flowers are a new way for Chinese to honor the dead. The tradition is to burn paper offerings of money and luxury objects to ensure a comfortable afterlife in the spirit world. But this is sometimes seen as a contributor to pollution.

So local authorities and cemeteries are providing flowers for free. The low-carbon and green concept is gaining popularity. At this cemetery in East China’s Jiangsu province, nearly 5,000 flowers have been given out in one day.

“When people come for tomb sweeping with fake money, I will talk with them and give them flowers in exchange,” said a volunteer Chen Ning.

“Fireworks can pollute the air. We can also express grief and love and devotion by offering flowers.”

And it’s not only fresh flowers. Silk and plastic ones are also offered in tribute.