The first real holiday conflict between many established religions and the coronavirus pandemic in the United States happens in April. Easter for Christians, Passover for Jews and Ramadan for Muslims will all be celebrated this month, but due to the coronavirus, things will be drastically different this year. No church services, large family gatherings, and other typical celebrations will be held as we all adhere to restrictions put in place. There are, however, things you can do to keep your kids (and your!) spirits high.
After all, this is a time when we most need to stick to rituals and traditions. Holidays help create distinction from one day to the next and help bolster morale. Some ideas:
Dress the part. You may be forced to stay home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress for the occasion – it will help you get in the spirit of your respective holiday. Dress up as the Easter Bunny or just dress up as you ordinarily would on your holiday and take turns taking photos. Involve family and friends via Zoom or FaceTime and if appropriate have fun with it -- think Easter Bunny fashion shows. And, of course, share the photos on social media.
Enjoy a holiday show. Get into the holiday mood with a good movie relating to your faith. It could be educational or fun. For Christians, movies such as Hop or The Dog Who Saved Easter or Rise of the Guardians are good to watch as a family. Those of the Jewish faith may enjoy Prince of Egypt or The 10 Commandments, while Muslim practitioners might want to check out muslimkids.tv, with a 14-day free trial.
Pay it forward. Create Easter baskets or other packages for a local charity or families in need, or consider baking cookies for first responders. Kids can also partake in acts of kindness by making cards for residents at nursing homes, grocery store employees, firefighters, police, and nurses. Or simply go outside and use sidewalk chalk to write encouraging notes on the pavement.
Create a special meal. Make your holiday memorable – and help jumpstart a new tradition – by dressing in your Sunday best, putting on your favorite music, and incorporating your kids’ favorite dishes into your holiday menu. Set up a Zoom meeting to include friends and family.
Attend a virtual service. Many churches, temples and mosques are streaming services so you can enjoy the holiday from a safe social distance. You might also want to consider taking advantage of so many services from different faiths being accessible online to experience them and increase your understanding of them. For more interactivity, schedule a video chat with friends and family afterwards so kids can talk about what they learned.
However you choose to celebrate your faith on holidays, and even if you don’t celebrate any faith, try and do something special with your family within the context of our current reality. It’s always important to celebrate: our faith, accomplishments, our love for one another, and even surviving the current pandemic together. When we do, we strengthen our ability to cope and give ourselves a respite from the everyday and extraordinary challenges we face.