Last week we had a holiday: Tomb-Sweeping Day (aka Qing Ming Festival or the Day of Clear Brightness), which I briefly mentioned here. This is a type of memorial day in which people show respect to their ancestors by visiting and cleaning their tombs, and also by burning paper houses, cars, clothes, and especially paper money for their spirits to use in the underworld. Apparently, in a rare (for China) flash of environmental fervor, many people are trying to curb the burning in order to clean the air. One of my students reports:
Tomb-Sweeping Day comes this week. My family went to pay respects to my grand-pa at his tomb yesterday. We took some papers made to resemble money and burned as an offering to the dead as usual. But when we got to the city of the dead, we found a group of volunteers of my age. They stood in front of the gate and came forward when people entered. Their aim is to exchange our papers with their flowers. Because the burning of the papers can cause lots of pollution to the air. CCTV 1 gave a report that the total amount of burning papers can achieve tons every year in this holiday years ago. So the volunteers want to make contributions to reducing the amount of air pollution for the environment. They exchanged the papers with the flowers – chrysanthemums. My family supported this idea and were willing to help the environment, too. We use the chrysanthemum instead of the paper. More and more people in China realized this point and make their own contributions to protecting the environment. I think what we can do for the environment is infinite. We can think about every aspect n our life and we may find many ways to protect our environment like the flowers in this Tomb-Sweeping Day. This is a big change in Tomb-Sweeping Day, I think.