Beijing (AFP) – Chinese medical students in white gowns held white chrysanthemums at a memorial for their “silent teachers” — people who donated their bodies to science — ahead of the annual “Tomb Sweeping Day” honouring the dead.
During the Qingming festival, Chinese people traditionally tend the graves of their departed loved ones, burning paper offerings to honour them and bring them comfort in the afterlife.
Lilies or chrysanthemums — flowers associated with death — are often placed on graves during the festival that will fall on Thursday this year.
On Monday, the medical students at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou in eastern China held the flowers at a memorial for body donors.
Cultural norms that dictate a deceased person’s body should remain intact and lack of awareness about body donation have left China’s medical schools scrambling to find cadavers needed for anatomy lessons.
Several medical schools across the country have started organising memorial events for body donors before Qingming to create awareness about the need for voluntary donations.