That old church joke – “Some people only go to church on Easter and Christmas”– will take on new meaning this year as we all, churchgoers or not, stay home this Easter Sunday, April 12, quarantined in our homes to protect others and keep COVID-19 at bay. Those who commemorate Passover (April 8-16) will also be staying home from synagogues, and will miss gatherings with loved ones outside their own homes.
And what about the Easter bunny, that fluffy, long-eared friend that brings families of all backgrounds together for adorable photo shoots? Or the treasured Easter egg hunts that would have taken place in public spaces and private abodes across the country?
Certainly, you can plant eggs around the inside or outside of your home for your kids to hunt, but none of our public events will happen (who else will miss hanging out at The Grove?). The good news is that, even in a crisis, we humans are a creative bunch. And so, Easter and Passover are not canceled this year. What will we sniff on Easter Sunday? Honeybaked ham? Pot roast?
As we sequester in our homes, hoping the coronavirus spares our households – maybe even miraculously ceases to exist – for those who uphold Jewish and Christian traditions, it is a sober time. It makes reflections on the story of Passover and the ancient Hebrews’ enslavement, plagues, hardship and protection; and Easter with its tale of resurrection and forgiveness, all the more poignant. At the center of both is the promise of freedom and a better tomorrow.
Churches, temples and synagogues around the country will host virtual services through Passover and Easter this year. “We’re saving you a virtual seat,” reads one poster from Redland Church. My own church, New Life LA, urges us to “re-imagine” this Sunday while tuning in to “special performances, a theatrical presentation and a nationwide worship collaboration.”
Beyond virtual religious events, with a little Easter hunting of your own, you can find other opportunities to celebrate, from concerts to Easter-basket and egg-decorating ideas, and even how to draw your neighborhood in (from afar) for a sense of unity.
In Italy, one of the countries most devastated by COVID-19, Italians have shared their sense of resilience and hope through videos of them playing music from their balconies, creating apartment “concerts” that uplift them and the rest of the world. On Easter Sunday, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli will stream a live concert at the Milan cathedral Duomo di Milano, where he has been granted special access. You can find out more and watch it here.
The blog Everyday Savvy breaks down Easter basket decorating for different ages and genders. If it’s too late to order, you can still find some items when you make that grocery store trip or get crafty with materials around your house. Click here to craft.
Color Me Mine in Studio City says there’s still time to order eggs, paint them and get them back in time for Easter. Their products are available for curbside pickup or delivery.
Cromwell Youth Trust will have a daily virtual Easter adventure through April 12, with challenges, activities and games. The event is free and includes daily giveaway prizes worth more than $1,000.
For ideas fun ideas on throwing your own virtual Easter party, visit @cheery_cake_designs.
PixieLane, a boutique clothing brand for kids, suggests that parents get the kids dressed up for Easter or Passover even though they won’t be leaving home. “Even with social distancing and the need to #stayhome, dressing up in your favorite dress is most certainly not canceled.”
You’ll want to call or text your neighbors to get them to join you in organizing the socially distanced Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt that’s sweeping some neighborhoods. Similar to the teddy bear hunt, where residents placed stuffed teddy bears in their windows, the rules are simple, elementary teacher Amanda Knudsen says. Hang one Easter egg drawing (on paper, cardboard, coffee filters, etc.) in a front-facing window. Make your egg (or maybe your kids want to draw a bunny) large enough to be seen from a distance. During their safe-distance walk with their families in the neighborhoods, kids can have fun counting how many Easter eggs they can find in neighbors’ windows.
Stark contrast to previous years? Yes, but then everything is starkly different, so that traditional Passover seder question, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” is one we can all ask, despite our backgrounds. In this case, we’re all in the same boat: trying to make the most out of what we have now as we strive to keep our kids smiling, our families safe and the larger world one we can re-enter with all the grace, wisdom and innovation we gain during this unprecedented time.