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January 3, 2011

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Mourning for blaze dead ends

THE 49-day mourning of the victims of the November 15 high-rise blaze in Shanghai ended yesterday with fewer residents presenting flowers at the building than in previous weeks.

Dozens of plain clothes policemen were sent to the intersection of Jiaozhou Road and Yuyao Road in downtown Jing'an District with other officers stationed at crossroads around the neighborhood to be ready to handle the expected crowds.

Families and friends of the victims of the blaze gathered at the building again to remember their loved ones. But this time the numbers were few.

More residents came to mourn the dead in the afternoon and some wrote blessings on the wall of the block.

"My friend, I will remember you forever," one wrote.

Traditionally, Chinese mourn the passing of loved ones on set days which are seven days apart.

It is believed that dead spirits visit their homes and linger there at midnight seven times - every seven days after the day of their death.

When the total of 49 days ends, the souls of the dead are believed to go to heaven or to be born anew.

As part of the traditional ritual, families of the deceased prepare meals and burn paper offerings on such occasions to express their sorrow and grief.


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