Easter and Palm Sunday in the Year of Coronavirus
With Easter around the corner, people are wondering how to celebrate the holiday. Due to the Coronavirus, some families can’t travel to the store to buy Easter Eggs, and the usual Easter egg hunts are not allowed. Americans are finding new ways to celebrate. Some neighborhoods have set up hunts where kids can walk around and spot items left in neighbors’ windows. Other families might try baking hot cross buns or learning about the story of Easter.
Even though it is a Christian holiday, most people will not be able to go to church this year. Instead, some pastors may hold online services. Palm Sunday may give us some clues about what to expect this Easter.
Palm Sunday is the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. This year it was on April 5. It celebrates Jesus Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem, just a few days before he was crucified. As he rode through town, villagers tossed clothes, palm branches, and other items to pay homage.
To this day, palm branches are still used for this commemoration. They are a symbol of peace. During Mass on Palm Sunday, palm leaves are blessed and then handed out to parishioners who then will carry them as they walk into church.
This year was different, as the Coronavirus pandemic kept the faithful from attending any services. This weekend’s Easter services will probably be the same, with worshipers staying at home and watching services on TV or the internet.
Chinese Lockdown Comes to an End
As countries enter lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the country where the disease started – China – is finally letting its people outside. Wuhan, the city where the virus was first seen, has ended its quarantine after 77 days. The city is now trying to get back to normal life. Adults are allowed to go back to work, business and malls are opening again, but schools stay closed.
Some people celebrated by heading to the stores and parks. As soon as the lockdown ended, thousands of people started leaving the city.
Wuhan was not the only Chinese city in lockdown – the whole country has ended its two-month isolation period. People immediately went to tourist destinations, which were crowded. The popular Huangshan mountain park had 20,000 visitors by 7:48 a.m.
In the large cities of Beijing and Shanghai, shoppers filled the streets while people exercised in the parks and visited scenic sites. Restaurants were full.
Is this what the United States and other countries affected by the virus can expect in a few weeks?
While people are happy to return to normal life, some are warning that people crowding together could hasten the spread of the disease. It could lead to a second wave of Coronavirus infections.
Bernie Sanders Suspends Presidential Campaign
Nobody is sure how the Coronavirus will affect this year’s election. Presidential campaigns have been struggling as candidates follow social distancing and seek out supporters without holding the traditional rallies. The Democratic Party has been trying to hold primaries to decide its candidate for president. The race may now be finished. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the only candidate.
Technically, Sanders is still a candidate for the election. His decision to put his campaign on hold doesn’t mean he has officially dropped out of the race. The Vermont senator said he plans to stay on the ballot during the next primary votes, which means he can still collect delegates. Biden will likely win the Democratic Party nomination, but Mr. Sanders’ supporters will still be able to vote for him.
Social distancing has made it difficult for candidates, who have to find other ways to reach the public. Some states tried to cancel their primaries. Others have limited voting to mail-in ballots or postponed the events. These decisions make campaigning difficult. Candidates normally use this time to reach out to voters. Instead, the presidential hopefuls have tried other methods to reach the American people. Sanders has appeared on news media shows, and Biden is trying podcasts.