Honouring loved ones on All Souls’ Day during pandemic
2 Nov 2021
By Ilona Andrew
MORE than a year has passed since the Covid-19 pandemic hit and in Malaysia alone, some 20,000 souls have perished.
Today, on All Souls’ Day, Catholic Christians remember and honour these individuals as well as those who have passed on before then by visiting the resting places of their loved ones where they usually offer flowers as a symbol of remembrance.
Back then, All Souls’ Day reunite family members from near and far as they gather with the same purpose – to pray for the souls of the dearly departed.
Now, such a visit is a lot more different than it ever was due to the pandemic. Too many people gathering at a site may be inimical considering how dangerously fast one, when infected, can pass the virus to another.
On this day last year and with the spike of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, particularly Sabah, cemeteries were closed and physical masses were not held as a preventive measure.
However, as the country is approaching the endemic phase with fewer restrictions in place, many families took the opportunity to come together to commemorate the day at the cemeteries this year.
Many views that the pandemic changes the way people approach their traditions and it just feels unusual. No more large gatherings and face coverings are a must.
While celebrating the day seems despairing, especially with so many lives having been lost to the virus, one should remember that All Souls‘ Day is a time to be reminded of the beauty of life rather than just the inevitability of death.
All Souls Day is a day when Catholic churches commemorate the 'faithful departed' which aims to remember and pray for the souls of those who are in Purgatory – a place in which those who have died to atone for minor sins before being granted the vision of God.