Nearly a million residents visited 54 Shanghai cemeteries yesterday to pay their respects to their ancestors.
The day of dongzhi, or winter solstice, caused severe traffic jams on some expressways from early morning, authorities said, adding that there was a total of 955,800 tomb sweepers paying their respects.
The figure was 17.7 percent down from last year's dongzhi day, partly attributed to continuous appeals from authorities and cemeteries in recent years for residents to go on days leading up to dongzhi or at other times, said officials with the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
An estimated 112,000 vehicles were used for visiting the city's cemeteries yesterday, a drop of 4.3 percent from last year. About 15,000 urns were buried, down 15.4 percent, according to the bureau.
Baoluomingyuan Cemetery in Baoshan District, Songhe Cemetery in Jiading District, and Xianhe Cemetery in Minhang District received the largest numbers of tomb sweepers.
More than 500 shuttle buses ran nearly 3,000 trips throughout the day, taking 110,000 people between Metro stations and cemeteries.
Hutai Road ramp at Middle Ring Road was closed at 9am due to heavy traffic on Hujia Highway.
Li Lin, a Shanghai resident who hailed a taxi to Hongqiao Railway Station yesterday morning, missed her train due to severe congestion on the Middle Ring Road.
Li, who lives in Xinjiangwan Town in Yangpu District, said she left home earlier than 7am, but she still encountered serious traffic jams when the cab turned onto the ring road.
The solstice, like Qingming Festival, is a key time for people to pay their respects to the dead by visiting tombs.
Dongzhi is an important occasion for tidying up tombs, and to observe traditional mourning.