Ways to make the most of Easter in isolation
This year, COVID-19 prevents us from gathering Sunday for church services or around the table for Easter brunch or dinner. And if the Easter Bunny hopped into our backyard to join the family Easter egg hunt, she’d have to wear a mask. Easter 2020 will be like no other, but let’s count our blessings. Thanks to the internet, here are ways to make the most of our first — and, we hope, last — Easter in self-isolation.
Streaming church services: Should you dress in your Easter best if you are attending church virtually? Many L.A. churches will live- or video-stream Easter services on their websites and Facebook pages, and they invite nonmembers to worship with them.
All Saints Pasadena will offer Easter services in English and Spanish. Afterward, attendees are invited to chat and eat (their own) food together in an online Easter brunch. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in downtown Los Angeles also will celebrate mass in English and Spanish.
The historic First Congregational Church of Los Angeles will run a prerecorded service that includes an organ concert and hymns by a 17-member choir that sings together virtually. “The singers each prerecorded their audio to a guide track, then sang again for a video,” said musical director David Harris. “It took hours to put the audio and video together, but the result is worth it.”
As we continue to practice social distancing, here are new ways to commemorate the Exodus.
Where’s the choir?
Many streaming Easter services will lack choirs. But if you yearn for uplifting religious music it’s easy to access.
The world-famous Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square will stream its 2018 Handel’s “Messiah” concert on Friday. After that it will be available online. Viewers can download and print a free score of the Handel classic for a singalong.
If you’re a fan of gospel spirituals, watch Aretha Franklin circa 2014 sing “Amazing Grace” at the Obama White House. The Queen of Soul may inspire you to fill your house with five hours of old-school gospel music.
What happened to the Easter Bunny?
“Is Easter canceled this year?” When L.A. lifestyle blogger Emily Henderson heard her 4-year-old daughter’s question, she panicked. “Holidays are milestones, and children need them to look forward to and enjoy,” she said. “We need to make the holiday fun even if the kids are stuck at home with just their immediate family.”
Easter is all about the unexpected, so be ready to roll back the rock and roll with the punches.
Henderson suggested engaging children with pre-Easter decorating and egg-dyeing activities they can share with their friends and family on Zoom or FaceTime. “Having a virtual Easter egg hunt on Sunday will likely be chaotic but still fun,” she said. “Parents can FaceTime in grandparents and chase the kids as they hunt, encouraging them to show and tell what they found. Because it’s all about Easter eggs and candy, the kids will love it.”
(Full disclosure: Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is an investor in Zoom.)
What about that traditional Easter brunch or dinner?
“If you can’t have family and friends over for a festive Easter meal, open Zoom or FaceTime in the kitchen Sunday and cook your own along with them,” said Valerie Gordon, founder of Valerie Confections. “People are doing a lot more cooking now, and it’s satisfying to share the experience.”
The confectioner/bakery has received more orders than usual for its handmade chocolates, cakes and pastries. “People are struggling with all the changes right now; it’s pretty intense for everyone,” she said. “A sweet treat is a great comfort and distraction.”
Those who don’t feel like cooking have takeout and delivery options. Among them: Urth Caffés, known for their stuffed French toast and pecan sticky buns; Madre Restaurants, featuring taco meal kits and a Oaxacan breakfast for two; and Honey Baked Ham outlets for traditional ham and turkey dinners. Check delivery apps such as Grubhub, DoorDash and Postmates for availability in your neighborhood.
Create new family traditions
Reza Aslan, religious scholar and author of the bestselling “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” acknowledges that families sheltering at home may mourn the loss of their traditional Easter. “But this is a time when the immediate family bond can become closer than ever,” he said. Aslan suggests creating a new family tradition this Easter, as he and his young family did after their trip around the world a couple of years ago.
“During Holy Week we were in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where they explode papier-mâché effigies of the devil to symbolize the clearing out of demons and renewal,” he said. This Easter, Aslan, his wife, Jessica, and their three sons will craft human figures out of discarded cardboard boxes, color them and then add messages. “Things like, ‘Be nicer to my little brother, clean my messes,’ ” he said. “Then we’ll burn them — or maybe blast them with a hose. It’s about celebrating Easter as a time of renewal, a time to start afresh.”
If you have extra food, here’s how you can help local food banks or pantries. If you are struggling to buy food, this guide has information for you.
Embrace the spirit of Easter
Easter is a time to give back with acts of kindness to those in need and donations to charities that serve them. This year consider supporting one of the nonprofit organizations helping with COVID-19 relief efforts. With so many suffering, it is also a time to recount all that we are grateful for.
“Easter is about the ultimate power of love,” said the Rev. Mike Kinman of All Saints Pasadena. “Easter reminds us that love is stronger than our broken hearts, troubled spirits and ailing bodies. Easter reminds us that life will go on — and that love is always, always greater than fear.”
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