Qing Ming is a Chinese tradition observed in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. - Courtesy picture.

THE April 5 weekend is Qing Ming Festival during which the Chinese community would undertake in the traditional cleaning of ancestral tombstones at graves nationwide.

This year, the observance would be given a miss and prayer rites which include lighting of joss sticks and offerings, are to be performed at homes.

The community were advised to skip the traditional cleaning to avoid social or religious gatherings during the present Movement Control Order (MCO).

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Cemetery Federation President Lee Chun Kong said the community 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,” Bernama quoted his statement.

Qing Ming, also known as Chinese All Souls Day or Tomb-Sweeping Day, is a community tradition observed for more than 2,500 years where family members gather to pay respect and homage to their departed ancestors.

It’s observed 10 days before and 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 told Bernama.

Other funerals and memorial service companies such as Xiao En Group have also declared that their locations will be closed for Qing Ming Festival.

Through their Facebook, Xiao En Memorial Park in Nilai and Melaka said they will only open for four essential activities – funeral, cremation, burial and Inurnment.

“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 read.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced 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 Covic-19, and since been extended to April 14.

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