How do we celebrate Easter in 2021?

Here we are, this is the second year of de COVID-19, in one hand all those things people around the world is so used to do have changed, and on the other hand, we all are still practicing the same traditions, we are still commemorating our holidays, celebrating our birthdays, and we are expecting to reach pretty much the same goals we had in 2019. In the first half of the year, different events are going on across the world, such as spring festivals, Ramadam, Buddha Day, and Eid al-Fitr among others. The one I want to talk about in this opportunity is Easter.

So, what is Easter about?

As a reminder, Easter is the principal festival of the Christian Church, in this day Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion by the Romans. Easter is one of the most important principles of the Christian faith because resurrection established Jesus as the Son of God. The English word Easter, as well as the German word Ostern, has no certain origin.

When exactly Easter is supposed to be celebrated?

Well, the date on which Jesus resurrected caused one of the major controversies in early Christianity. This dispute, well known as the Paschal Controversy, was not resolved until the 8th century. So, on the 14th day of the full moon of spring, Christians observe the Crucifixion, and on the same day, Jews celebrate the Passover offering. The Resurrection was observed two days later, regardless of the day of the week. In the west, the Resurrection of Jesus was celebrated on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. The Council of Nicaea decreed Easter should be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, therefore, Easter can fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25. The Orthodox Easter celebration usually occurs later than that celebrated by Roman Catholics and Protestants. Indeed, Orthodox traditions prohibit Easter celebrations before or at the same time as Passover. Liturgically, Easter comes after the Great Vigil, it is supposed to be observed sometime between sunset of Saturday and sunrise of Sunday. In 1955 the Roman Catholic Church established the time for the Vigil at 10:00 pm, so the Easter mass may be celebrated after midnight.

Nowadays, the Easter sunrise service is a very important Protestant observance in North America, Gospel of Jesus´ Resurrection is the highest point of the celebration. The history of the Easter celebration is huge, there are so many events that haven't been discussed in this article, so I just listed a few I considered more relevant. Very well, now that we understand the relevance of the Easter celebration across the Christian world, let's talk about the next Easter celebration.

In 2021, Easter is going to be observed on April 4th, and like the rest of the events during the pandemic, we must be careful, and we already learned how to be so. Institutions such as World Health Organization, already have their recommendations to manage the risk. Among other things, the WHO recommends protecting vulnerable people during celebrations, partnering with faith leaders, adapting to the "New Normal" lifestyle, and traveling safely. I know these recommendations might be stressful, now we have to plan this celebration thinking of the restrictions because of the pandemic, however, we already know how to do most of these things, we can say we are prepared.

So, let's just keep in mind that this Easter is going to be different, but "different" doesn´t mean bad, right? Also, let´s consider changing our minds a little bit, let´s focus on all those things we can do instead of the restrictions we must follow. For example, we still can have an Easter Egg Hunt, children always have fun hunting eggs, just remember, this time we can organize this event with the closest family, not with the whole neighborhood. Can we still visit the Easter Bunny? sure, just do it from a safe distance, maybe we can´t do the usual trip, but we can look for fun alternatives, get yourself a custom. Don´t forget to decorate with lilies, the symbol of innocence and purity.

If you are not much into this celebration, different initiatives have arisen as alternative activities, such as food pantry organizers, or participation in local efforts to plant trees and flowers. Some people like camping or practice some sports, these activities may involve just a few friends.

We know most Christians are willing to go to church every Easter morning, this celebration reaffirms their faith and their deepest beliefs, and then they want to expend the rest of the day with their families. This year, there is an alternative, if we can't physically go to church, we can attend a service virtually at home.

Finally, I wish you all a very happy, pleasant, and safe Easter, better days will come.

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