PETALING JAYA: The country’s Chinese community will finally be able to visit cemeteries to pay their respects to the deceased, clean graves and offer prayers during the Qing Ming festival on April 5, thanks to fewer restrictions being enforced, two years after the pandemic began.
Teh Swee Ling, who lives in Bukit Gantung, Penang, said she had not visited her ancestors’ graves for the past two years to observe Qing Ming due to movement restrictions.
She said this time around she had the opportunity to inspect the condition of the graves and give them a much needed facelift.
Teh had gone to the cemetery of her ancestors on Tuesday to clean up as she plans to perform rituals with her family at home on the day of the festival to avoid crowds.
“There were a few things that needed fixing and cleaning on the graves. For example, the grass in one of the graves had grown higher than me, while a mini chasm that had developed needed to be filled.
“I have advised our relatives in Johor and other states not to visit us on this day as I have a 60 year old mother at home. She is vulnerable given the current situation. of Covid-19.”
Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia chairman Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow said the festival was an important tradition for Taoists to pay respect to their ancestors.
Tan said there would be no specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the Qing Ming festival, as the Ministry of National Unity had not issued any guidance on it.
“As most of our population has received two doses of vaccines plus a booster shot, it is safe for crowds to perform rituals in cemeteries, especially since these are open spaces. “
Tan, however, reminded those visiting the graves to observe the current SOP enforced by the government.
Nirvana Malaysia has sent notices to those wishing to visit the memorial center and burial grounds, stating that each appointment is limited to two vehicles and 10 visitors.
Visiting time on the site is limited to one hour at the cemeteries and 30 minutes at the columbarium. Visitors are also discouraged from bringing family members over 70 and under 12.
“Wear masks, practice social distancing at all times and wash your hands frequently. All visitors must adhere to the latest SOPs set by the government,” the notice reads.