How COVID-19 Affects Religious Holidays

Churches, synagogues, and mosques must find new ways to celebrate.

Sophia Clifton

Churches, synagogues, and mosques must find new ways to celebrate.

Nafiah Choudhury, Staff Writer

April 2020 is loaded with a myriad of holidays from the world’s major religions. Passover, Easter, and Ramadan will be observed by billions around the world this year in the confines in their own homes rather than in congregations or large family meals.

Passover began on the evening of April 8th; Easter ended Holy Week on April 12th; Ramadan is predicted to start on April 23rd; and Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan on May 23rd. With the whole world in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, churches, synagogues, and mosques are closed, which changes how people will celebrate their annual holidays this year.

Easter is one of the most important observances for Christians everywhere. It’s also known to be an event for assembly whether it be in church, during an egg-hunt, or any other tradition a family might have. 

“Corona falling on Easter is really sad and unexpected,” says Leann Taylor, a junior. “I do wish I was able to go to church around this time because I find it to be such a fulfilling experience. At my church, the bond of the churchgoers is so vibrant and makes praising Christ on Easter Sunday so much better. However, church can be wherever you are. WE are the churches.”

Passover is a seven day feast, typically celebrated at home. While this coincides with the stay-at-home order many already face, the holiday centers around being with loved ones. This makes getting together with extended family all the more difficult. Not to mention, food preparation as grocery shopping becomes an issue on its own. 

The month of Ramadan is celebrated by fasting during the sunlight hours of the day. Most observers break fast and perform additional prayers in large gatherings, as a community. 

“For this year’s celebrations, my family will pray at home instead of going to the mosque. One pro of quarantine is that we don’t have the strain of going to school,” said junior Maliha Rahman. “Since we have to wake up before dawn to eat to last us until sunset, it will be easier for me to stay up and complete homework.” 

As for Eid al-Fitr, a very sociable day full of meals and gifts in the best new clothes, many are finding creative ways around the quarantine. “My family and I will be taking pictures in our backyard and sharing them with the rest of our family since we can’t spend this Eid with them,” says Rahman.

Live-streaming services are becoming increasingly popular in this time of crisis. Sermons, derashas, and khutbahs can all be accessed from one’s own home with no risk of having to go outside. They are most likely to be of great use during the many holidays being observed around the world this month. 

As confusing and challenging as this time may be, it’s also a chance to get innovative and possibly begin new traditions during the holidays.