Disappointed that Easter traditions won’t be the same under social distancing? Join Josie Ortega in brainstorming new twists on a joyful Easter celebration.
This year is unlike any in living memory. All of us are adjusting old routines and creating new ones to figure out what works during this strange time of COVID-19, and the same goes for celebrating holidays! As we reinvent our belovedEaster traditions to work for us amid a global pandemic, along the way we’re sure to find new ways to celebrate and cultivate hope.
With kids at home, this year we may have more time to dive into traditional Lenten and Easter activities like gardening, baking, and spring cleaning. Count it for science, math, and home economics class!
What are our family’s favorite Easter traditions? It’s worth taking some time to think through how we can adapt this year so that we’re not blindsided by disappointment. Don’t get me wrong: I still may find myself sitting on the kitchen floor, crying among the chocolate bunnies at midnight before Easter Sunday. But I won’t be shocked when it happens.
Here’s my running list of beloved Easter traditions, with their new social-distancing twists!
Let’s go ahead and go bonkers with Easter baskets, because, hey, we’ve got time. Click for my suggestions for basket fillers, both tried and true as well as unexpected.
Again, we may have the space and bandwidth this year to go above and beyond in this department. No rush!
We might attempt another elaborate style of decoration:
But also: if you suspect that attempting a major project with children, one that’s loaded with high expectations and nostalgia, will push you over the edge . . . just forget it. Let it go! Or merely use the no-frills kit from the grocery store and call it a day. Or, do the basic set with the kids, and satisfy your own artistic urges with the elaborate project, solo. Godspeed.
It will still be fun to do a small-scale family or household-only egg hunt. The more popular option in our house last year was to switch things around and have the kids hide eggs for parents to find. Still, if a family is used to a large, festive cousin or community-wide egg hunt, losing that event may feel especially sad this year.
The church’s commemoration of Jesus’ last days takes the tone of somber, sorrowful remembering before the burst of celebration on Easter Sunday. Beginning the week before on Palm Sunday, we move through the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday when Jesus was crucified and buried . . . and then the long, silent waiting of Holy Saturday.
Churches still will commemorate these events in various socially distanced ways this year, whether via online services, or perhaps Stations of the Cross that one can walk through alone, at a safe distance from others.
I don’t need to explain that this year, feelings of isolation, lament, and sorrow are easily accessible for many of us. And as the psychologists would tell us, it’s a healthy practice to feel our feelings rather than to repress them. Holy Week offers time and space to do this: to name what we’re feeling, sit with it, and let the emotional waves wash over and through us.
Although we feel lonely at times, we are not alone. And as the gospel accounts portray, Jesus himself experienced the feelings of loneliness, desperation, and sorrow. These emotions aren’t new, but our current circumstances cause us to experience them in a poignant, different way.
New York City's Easter Parade evolved from the delightful people-watching of wealthy families in their fanciest garb heading to church on 5th Avenue, and it reflects the more widespread tradition of wearing new clothes for Easter. Another more common modern-day way to show off our Easter finest is to enjoy a nice brunch with family. Over the past several years, our family has patronized the same neighborhood restaurant for Easter brunch, a bit of a fancier meal with kids—fresh squeezed OJ for them, outrageously garnished Bloody Marys for us.
Easter is the highest holy day in the Christian faith, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Our celebrations share similarities with spring festivals common to all of humanity throughout time and across geography: as we look at the ground, what appeared dead bursts to life! It’s wonder-inducing and worth celebrating with joy.
The new twist: It will look different this year, but Easter will remain a day to enjoy family and friends, church, new life, good food, and the glorious outdoors. Hope springs eternal!
What are your favorite Easter traditions, and how will they look for your family this year, taking social distancing into account? Share in the comments, and get planning using FamilyApp!