How to navigate Easter celebrations in the era of social distancing

Holidays have been celebrated differently since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late 2019. Easter was among the first major holidays to be celebrated differently in 2020, and celebrations likely won’t return to normal in 2021.

Celebrations and social distancing make strange bedfellows. However, it’s possible for people to safely celebrate Easter with their loved ones.

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• Watch virtual Mass together. Though it might not be the same as attending Mass in person together as a family, watching virtual Mass together can allow families to engage with their faith alongside one another. If the weather permits, use a projector and set it up outside so families can safely watch in the backyard. Make sure everyone wears masks and keeps their distance. If the weather is not cooperating, families can still watch Mass together, even if they’re not gathered in the same space. Set up a family Zoom call via a smartphone or laptop and then ask all on the call to watch a live stream of Mass on another device.

• Take Easter brunch outside. An outdoor brunch provides another way for families to gather this Easter without compromising their health. Brunch makes more sense than dinner since it can be eaten in early afternoon when the weather is likely to be warmer than it will be at dinnertime. Heat lamps can add some warmth to outdoor Easter brunches.

• Host an egg hunt in the backyard. The Easter egg hunt is one tradition that need not be sacrificed during the pandemic. Easter egg hunts traditionally take place outdoors, and children can wear masks like many are already doing when going to school or participating in sports and other extracurricular activities.

• Host an Easter movie night. Families isolating and spending the day with only those in their own households can watch a movie that commemorates their Christian faith. Various films are set around Easter, including the classic “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965) starring Max von Sydow and Claude Rains and the more recent “Risen” (2016), which focuses on efforts by a Roman military tribune named Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) who is tasked with investigating what happened to Jesus Christ’s body after the Crucifixion.

Families can embrace some old and new traditions as they celebrate Easter in the era of social distancing.