“No challenges are insurmountable, and we will overcome this together”.
The Qing Ming festival is one of the most important events in the Taoist calendar. Filial piety is a key tenet of the faith, and this is the period when people head to cemeteries and columbaria to pay their respects to their ancestors.
“Sons, grandsons, everyone in the family will go together and it is always very crowded,” said Singapore Taoist Federation president Tan Thiam Lye in Mandarin.
This year’s Qing Ming fell just before the start of the circuit breaker, so devotees were still allowed to gather at cemeteries and columbaria. But they were subject to safe distancing measures and limited numbers, so it was a more subdued affair than previous years.
The impact was even more visible at temples where, usually, large crowds would continue to gather for 10 days after the Qing Ming, with “lots of festivities”, Mr Tan said. This could no longer happen when circuit breaker measures kicked in.
But the temples have been adapting to the new normal. At Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong temple, a camera was set up facing the deities and turned on every day from 10.30am to 12.30pm, allowing devotees who wished to pray to view them on a live Facebook feed.