SHIJIAZHUANG-Villagers in northern China’s Hebei Province have decided to bid farewell to a millennium-old ritual during this year’s Tomb Sweeping Day for the good of the environment: burning joss paper. “I think it is a good thing that we stop burning joss paper. Although I did find it difficult at first, I know it is better not to burn joss paper when I thought of the smoke in the past,” said Tang Lifen, a villager in Liulaoren Village, Fucheng County. Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on April 5 this year, is a time for Chinese people to mourn the dead and worship their ancestors by visiting tombs and making offerings. Traditionally, the tributes involve burning incense and joss paper at the tombs. “Villagers compare with each other, and if you burnt fewer than others, you would be considered as not completing your filial duties. We also had to burn cardboard versions of refrigerators, televisions and ingots,” Tang said.“When we stop burning joss paper, our financial burdens are lessened,” Tang said Instead of burning joss paper, this year, villagers held a memorial service and gathered together to recall the spiritual wealth that the elder generation has left for them. They also tied cards with what they wanted to say to their deceased family members on a century-old pear tree. “We tie these cards on the trees to remind us of the spiritual wealth that they have left for us,” said Zuo Junxiu, a villager.