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December 22, 2012

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Traffic snarls up as crowds flock to local cemeteries

MORE than 1 million people in the city honored deceased relatives yesterday, Winter Solstice day, following the Chinese tradition, causing traffic congestion in some parts of the city.

Heavy traffic was reported near Fushouyuan Cemetery in Qingpu District and Binhaiguyuan Cemetery in Fengxian District as early as 6am.

More than 6,700 passengers exited the Shanghai Circuit Station on Metro Line 11, which leads to several big cemeteries in Jiading District, between 6am and 9am, about seven times Thursday's figure.

Some residents arrived at Binhaiguyuan Cemetery before 6am while Fushouyuan Cemetery had received 515 vehicles by 7am.

Two cars collided on Shenhai overpass on the S60 Expressway about 8:45am, backing up traffic for more than 200 meters, police said.

Chinese believe Winter Solstice day is one of the best days of the year to open a grave and yesterday about 17,300 ash urns were interned at local cemeteries.

A total of 1.08 million people swept the tombs of their ancestors yesterday, the city's civil affairs authority said.

The figure for last year's Winter Solstice day, which fell on December 22, was 1.12 million.

Many still prefer honoring ancestors on the day despite calls to visit cemeteries on weekends or other days near the festival to alleviate traffic congestion, said Lu Chunling, director of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau's funeral department.


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