News Release

Families the Focus during Qingming

Many Malaysian Chinese members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

observe the Chinese tradition Qingming.  Qingming festival is similar to the Christian's

"All Soul's Day.”  In general, it is a day commemorating the departed, but not exclusively

one's relatives.  The prayers appointed to that day are a reminder that their Christian

ancestors who have finished their earthly life may have hope of resurrection from the

dead. They also see this festival as a time of reflection and to honor and give thanks to

their forefathers.

Mormons value family togetherness.  Family members gather to remember their

ancestors.  They believe that the family is eternal as a unit, and families can be together

after their mortal lives here on earth. Much importance has been placed on temple work

for the dead, particularly for those who did not have a chance to become baptized into

the (Mormon) Church while they were on earth.

Qingming Festival is a tradition from China that is still closely observed by the overseas

Chinese people. This festival is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, Chinese Memorial

Day or Ancestors Day.  It usually falls in early April, and according to ancient customs,

grave site veneration is only feasible 10 days before or after the Qingming Festival.

Family members visit columbaria, graves or burial grounds to pray before their

ancestors.  It is an opportunity for them to remember and honor their loved ones at

grave sites.  

Celebrations usually start in the morning by paying respect to distant Chinese ancestors

at home altars.  It is followed by visiting the graves of deceased close relatives located

in the country.  Relatives pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs, offer food, joss

paper, and burn spirit money or paper replicas of material goods which Chinese believe

people need in the afterlife.  Today, younger ones prefer to bring flowers instead of the

traditional offerings. After the ancestral worship at the grave site, the whole family or

clan feasts on the food and drink they brought for the worship, either at the site or in

nearby gardens in the memorial park, signifying family reunion with the ancestors.  

Sister Letty Sim, a member of the Subang Jaya branch of the West Malaysia District,

gathers annually with her siblings at their parents' graveyard near their hometown,

Muar, to pay their respects.  The family normally pays a nominal fee to workers to tidy

the tomb site during Qingming.  This festival is one where her relatives make a great

effort to hold a family reunion after the visit to the site.  Sister Letty has done her family

genealogy and temple work for both her parents.   She hopes that her family can be

together after this life.

What is temple work and what is it for?  Many ancestors may not have had the

opportunity to accept the gospel in their lifetimes. Members of the Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons, or LDS) believe God is fair and loving and

provides a way for their ancestors to receive the blessings and promises given by their

Savior. Temples are built for this purpose.  Saving ordinances necessary for salvation

are performed for both the living and the dead in holy temples throughout the world.

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