China's Tomb Sweeping Day goes high-tech

April 4, 2009 at 8:46 PM
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BEIJING, April 4 (UPI) -- The people of China marked Tomb Sweeping Day Saturday both in the traditional way and with a modern twist that employed the Internet.

China's annual memorial festival historically is commemorated with visits to family tombs where candles are lit, paper money burned, prayers offered, and flowers and food left behind. This year, many more people expressed their thoughts about deceased family members on the World Wide Web, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

One blogger, identified only as Xiyuanpiaoxue, wrote that her family this year set up a mourning blog online, complete with portraits of her grandparents and photos of past tomb-sweeping activities. Another Internet tomb-sweeper, Gao Jianming, said the festival's arrival made him realize "I can't suppress my sadness."

"I had believed that sorrow could gradually fade out, but I finally realized that I still miss you so much, my folks!" Gao wrote in a note left at www.dizhen5.12.netor.com.

More than 5,200 people presented virtual flowers, alcohol and ignited candles at a Web site dedicated to those who fought and died during a war in Shandong province in 1948. The Web site www.wenming.cn/wmdjr/qm.htm received more than 3 million visitors as of Saturday with 220,000 leaving comments.

In Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, more than 10,000 people showed up in person on the first of nine days of festival activities.

Calligraphy exhibitions, food booths, performances of ancient emperor worship, and sports games "helped us to better understand the history and cultural background of ancient tomb-sweeping," said Ji Wei, a tourist from Pingdingshan City.

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