In this moment of gloom, the story of Easter is that of hope and the light at the end of the tunnel
Actor and producer Dino Morea has fond memories of celebrating Easter as a child.
As a young boy, he would wake up early to go to church with his family, come back for some Easter eggs and bunnies, and join his family and close friends for a fun Easter lunch.
While the small gathering would feast upon a crisp leg of lamb glazed with honey, the ethos of celebrating the festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ would lie in the moments spent with the family.
“I don’t think anyone is in a celebratory mood right now as we are under lockdown and everyone’s in self-isolation. Fortunately, I have my family with me, so we will be together this Easter. But for those who are alone, I’d say call your family and make yourself a nice meal, that’s the best you can do,” says Morea.
As the Christians worldwide are observing the Holy Week, with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter on Sunday, it’s probably for the first time that the congregations have not been able to assemble at churches for traditional services.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt on normal ways of living but in the difficult times like these, there is an insistence on maintaining the semblance of pre-coronavirus life while abiding by the restrictions in whatever means possible.
Therefore, onwards with the same spirit, the priests and bishops are streaming the services live from churches for their faithful.
“The traditional services are not possible due to the lockdown, but we are making sure that the spiritual elements and the services that are normally held are being broadcasted into their homes,” says Fr. Nigel Barrett, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bombay.
According to the guidelines presented by the Vatican itself, the dioceses were encouraged to stream the services live. “The words – ‘encouraged to stream’ – were deliberately chosen because in India, there are dioceses that won’t have the infrastructure nor would they have Internet speed required for streaming, so they encourage those who cannot record the services to access the services at a later stage on platforms where they are uploaded,” added Fr. Barrett.
At a time when people are observing the strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease, connecting with their loved ones in addition to attending the virtual mass is an apt way of celebrating Easter.
Agreeing to this, the choreographer, founder and artistic director of The Danceworx Academy and Navdhara India Dance Theatre, Ashley Lobo will be celebrating the day at home with family.
“Easter this year is going to be a quiet affair at home with just the family. I will try and see if I can pick up a Sunday service online. I will also call my sisters and my mother. This will be followed by a small lunch with the family,” says Lobo.
In Christianity, Easter marks the triumph of good over evil. After the sacrifice of life by Christ for humanity on Good Friday, his resurrection on Easter is a journey of hope and joy.
“In fact, in this moment of lockdown, in that spirit of desolation, the story of Easter is a story of hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that you might be locked down but you are not locked out,” says Fr. Barrett about staying hopeful while strictly abiding by the rules of lockdown and social distancing.
For American actor and musician Alexx O'Nell, the original plan for the Easter was a family get-together in Amsterdam, and now that the plan has been quashed, the actor feels he has been brought closer to his family.
“Even though the crisis has kept us physically distant, it has ironically caused us to become even closer than we were. I now talk with my family more often than before.
So with me in India, my sister and her family in Ireland, and my mother in Holland, this year will be our first ‘global video conference Easter’. And while I will miss the physical presence of my family, I know that staying home and maintaining social distancing is the right thing to do this Easter,” he shares.
Echoing the same, the legendary Indian keyboardist Louis Banks is observing the lockdown with his family.
“One of my family members, who is a very church-going person, is keeping me updated with all the days that are happening. And she’s brought us special prayers, which she recites for us, so we are keeping in touch like that.
For Easter, my daughter Monique and daughter-in-law Tania are planning a couple of dishes as a surprise, they always surprise us,” laughs Banks.