This year, our family won't be celebrating Easter like we usually do, because churches and restaurants are closed down and our city's shelter in place order prevents us from visiting with friends and relatives. Even though we can't participate in our beloved Easter traditions, like an egg hunt with our daughter's friends, spreading out a picnic blanket in the park, and greeting our friends and neighbours with hugs and kisses, my husband and I have decided that we will keep the spirit of Easter alive, even during a pandemic.
Due to schools being closed, I am currently homeschooling my preschool-age daughter, and part of our daily routine includes sharing books together. I pulled out all of our Easter and spring-themed books, so we are reading about Easter and celebrating springtime every morning leading up to the day. I also rotate out her stuffed animals each month, and I made sure to grab a collection of bunnies, lambs, and chicks for this month.
Since group events and public outings are out of the question, I am focusing on projects and activities related to Easter that our family can do at home together. Dying eggs is first on my list. All I need is eggs and food colouring. One thing will be different, however. This year, instead of blowing out the eggs like we usually do, I plan to hard-boil them. That way, we can eat all of the eggs we dye, instead of making yet another treacherous trip to the store for breakfast ingredients.
We also won't be purchasing any plastic Easter eggs. Instead, we will paint egg-shaped rocks with colourful designs and use them to decorate our home. On Easter morning, we'll hide chocolate eggs and bunnies around the house for our daughter to find. There really is no reason to put the candy into plastic eggs, since it's already wrapped in colourful foil. That's one less thing to buy and a lot less plastic to waste while we're at it.
On Easter morning, we always share a traditional Italian breakfast of hard-boiled eggs (see where those dyed eggs come in handy?) and salami. This is one thing that won't change at all. Although I often run out to the butcher shop for the salami at the last minute, this year, since all the shops have restricted hours and some have shut down completely, I've planned a little more carefully and know exactly when and where I'll pick up the provisions.
One part of Easter that we're going to let go of this year is dressing up. I am really going to miss getting dolled up in my white dress, wide-brimmed hat, and pearl necklace. I had been looking forward to bringing my daughter shopping for her fourth Easter dress. And although we mulled over the idea of dressing up at home, we ultimately decided that dressing up was just not as fun if we had nowhere to go. But I know our beautiful clothes will be waiting for us next year.
During the current coronavirus emergency, there are many traditions and celebrations that just won't happen this year. Some I have let pass, like St. Patrick's Day, which just came and went like any other day. But to me, Easter is too important to not celebrate, and it's a time for us to grow closer as a family. For us, the holiday is a time to focus on rebirth and personal growth. That sort of change and development necessitates a struggle. With my husband out of work and my daughter suddenly unable to participate in all of the things she truly loves, we are definitely fighting our way through uncharted territory. It's a challenge this year — but in line with the spirit of Easter, it's also an opportunity to overcome.