By SOON LI WEI
KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 -- The Chinese community is advised to skip the traditional tomb-sweeping tradition during this year's Qing Ming Festival and to conduct ancestor worship rites at home to avoid unnecessary social or religious gatherings during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Cemetery Federation President Lee Chun Kong said they could worship according to the direction of the place where their ancestors were buried or cremated to show their filial respect.
"Members of the public are advised to follow the order announced by the government which has suspended all mass gatherings including religious activities during this period," he said in a statement here.
Qing Ming festival, or Chinese All Souls Day or Tomb-Sweeping Day, is a tradition among the Chinese community that has been observed for more than 2,500 years where family members gather to pay respect and homage to their departed ancestors.
The festival is observed 10 days before or 10 days after the actual day which usually falls on April 5.
Nirvana Memorial Park Sdn Bhd Chief Marketing Officer Datin Lee Jye Chyi said the company would prohibit all Qing Ming or cultural related activities during MCO, except those related to burials or cremations.
"Ancestor tomb sweeping is not limited to Qing Ming Festival only. There are other festivals during the rest of the year in which the public can perform ancestor worship rites such as the Hungry Ghost Festival and Winter Solstice Festival.
"Our advice is to avoid all Qing Ming practices such as tomb-sweeping during this time. Once the outbreak eases, Nirvana will allow the public to participate in worshipping rites during other festivals," she said.
Other funerals and memorial service companies such as Xiao En Group have also declared that their locations will be closed for Qing Ming Festival.
In a statement through Facebook, Xiao En Memorial Park in Nilai and Melaka will only open for four essential activities - Essential Funeral Service, Cremation Service, Burial Service and Inurnment Service only.
"All Qing Ming prayers, remain relocation or exhumation, maintenance and repair of tombs are not allowed to be carried out during MCO until April 14," it said.
On March 16, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the MCO will be in force from March 18 till March 31 to restrict the movement of Malaysians for non-essential needs in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
However the prime minister yesterday announced that the MCO will be extended to April 14.
Malaysia National News Agency
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