There is nothing about Christians’ celebration of Easter that is evocative of solitude. That belongs to season of Lent, the six weeks before Easter that is a period of reflection, sacrifice and discipline.
Easter Sunday morning is all about crowded churches, people parading in their best clothes, big family gatherings and happy children running and hunting for Easter eggs.
2020 will be remembered for the absence of those joyous moments.
No doubt there have been difficult times in Easters past. An AP archive image photographed April 1, 1945, shows 175 Frenchmen, former prisoners of war, marching down a German road after being freed by a cavalry reconnaissance unit of the U.S. Ninth Army on Easter Sunday. They are shoulder-to-shoulder and jubilant in the image photographed by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
During this pandemic, people are spread out and sheltering in place. Churches around the world were closed to most of the over 2 billion Christians, forcing the faithful to watch Easter services online or on TV.
At Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the Christian faithful believe Jesus was crucified, entombed and rose from the dead, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa urged the faithful not to be discouraged. “The message of Easter is that life, despite all will prevail,” said Pizzaballa said at a Mass attended by a few clerics, with the streets of the Old City devoid of pilgrims and vendors.
Here is how Christians celebrated Easter in Varese, Italy; Hyderabad, India; Caracas; Antigua, Guatemala; and Henderson, Nevada: