The life crystal subsidy marks the latest effort by local civil affairs authorities to prevent traffic congestion for the winter solstice.
The cost of making one “life crystal” is 998 yuan (US$155), and a 400 yuan subsidy is offered as an incentive for families who sign an agreement to visit cemeteries at non-peak times.
“‘Life crystal’ serves as an indication or permanent reminder which allows people to observe traditional mourning at home,” said Wei Chao, deputy director of the Shanghai Funeral and Interment Service Center affiliated to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
“In the past, people didn’t have a medium if they wanted to pay tribute to the deceased at home, and by using this practice we hope to encourage them to avoid peak times when they visit cemeteries,” said Wei.
“The crystal is equal to cremation ashes as Chinese people don’t want to have urns at home.”