Those celebrating Qing Ming Festival, also known as All Souls Day, have been urged to postpone their celebrations and pray for their ancestors from home to prevent mass gatherings that would only worsen the spread of Covid-19.
All Malaysians need to minimise human contact during the upcoming annual Qing Ming which falls on 4th April and foresees a large number of families returning to pay respects to their departed ones by visiting cemeteries and columbariums. Activities are typically held 10 days before or after the actual day of the festival.
Dr Wu Lien-Teh from the National Institutes of Health Malaysia says,”Amid the pandemic, we ought to be socially responsible to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the community at large…As much as we wish to honour our ancestors and loved ones, they would always want us to stay healthy and well! All of us have a role to play in protecting our wider community,” as reported by the Star.
And it seems as though the public seem to reflect a similar opinion:
“Things have not been looking good lately and nobody knows how long the movement control order is going to last. If the Covid-19 outbreak continues until the end of March, I think we will have to skip tomb-sweeping this year, ” said 32-year-old lifestyle writer, Jiro Khor.
Another citizen who goes by the name of Elaine Cheng, said her family plans to observe the festival separately, “we will probably travel separately and visit the graves on different days. If the situation is not too bad by April 4, we will still go and pay our respects, We will probably go as early as 4am or 6am.”
Meanwhile, Penang United Hokkien Cemeteries chairman, Ong Teik Khim, said that despite the enduring edition of Qing Ming, large groups are not hoped for during this worrying season:
“We hope that if families want to visit graves and columbariums, they would not come in big groups. In this current situation, it is better for fewer people to gather at the same place. ”
Paying respects to the dearly departed is important but so is staying safe and at home during this uncertain and dangerous period.
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