Our ancient sage Confucius said paying respect to the dead and ancestors cultivates our morals.
The traditional Tomb Sweeping Day or Pure Brightness Festival is just two days away and many people have already started paying respects to their ancestors. But in many cases, paying respect to the dead has become a show of wealth.
Chinese have the tradition of burning paper money or paper-made articles in the belief that it would help the dead lead a happy life in the other world.
The ever-improving living standards over the past three decades have greatly advanced this practice. Nowadays, people do not burn just paper money, but also paper limousines, paper villas and even paper maids and paper guards. The money spent on these items runs into millions of yuan in a just one city.
We all know everything we do at such ceremonies should be symbolic. The Tomb Sweeping Festival is more about remembering the dead than a show of extravagance. Ironically, the dead would have been the first to stop us from wasting so much money on vanity. The ones with souls would have wanted us to lead a happy and peaceful life. They would have told the wealthy to spend their extra money to help people in need like victims of natural disasters instead of burning it before their tombs.
Burning so many things causes pollution, too, and it’s a waste of precious paper. Then there is always the fear that it could spark a fire in the countryside where some tombs are in wooded areas.
In this modern age, laying flowers or reading a commemorative article at a tomb is a more fitting and eco-friendly way of paying respect to the dead. By doing so, we would not only be paying respect, but also getting a moral inspiration out of it