How to Celebrate Holidays with Loved Ones You Can't be Together
✔ We all need to practice physical distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate special occasions with your loved ones!
✔ Spring is the time for Easter, Passover, Ramadan, Vaisakhi and Mother’s Day – technology now lets us observe all of these traditions virtually.
✔ Online services and video chat apps can keep you connected to your faith and family.
Spring is a time of renewal, and in Canada which is cold for much of the year, it represents a time when people begin to stir about, connecting with friends, neighbours, and family more frequently. It’s also a time for many important holidays and observances.
This spring is not like any other year. The spread of COVID-19 has disrupted not only Canadians’ health and financial situations, but it has also caused us the closure of many of the pillars of our communities where we congregate and socialize. Many city parks, schools, churches and mosques have made the decision to close in an effort to flatten the curve. So, how can you still observe important occasions like Easter, Passover, Ramadan, and Vaisakhi? In many cases, virtually!
Stay Connected with Friends and Family
In our increasingly connected world, there is no shortage of options to connect with loved ones. Video calls are great for longer group get-togethers, many are free and most can be used from your phone as well as your computer – Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype are just a few. You can also use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to make video calls from your phone or computer.
Some Service Providers are Waiving Data Fees
Video calls use up data and if you’re concerned about getting charged extra, contact your service provider to ask about what they’re doing to assist their customers during this time. Bell and Rogers announced they will temporarily remove internet data overage fees on home internet plans amid COVID-19.
Observe The Holidays Virtually
This most important and oldest festival in the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, begins this year on April 10 with Good Friday.
Like most houses of worship in the country, Catholic churches are closed for services. But Catholics should reach out to their local church to see what events will be broadcast online or on television. For instance, the Ottawa archdiocese will broadcast Easter mass live on its website and YouTube channel.
For more secular Easter activities, consider scavenger hunts and egg decorating through web cams.
An important religious holiday on the Hebrew calendar, Passover begins this year on the evening of April 8 and ends on April 16.
One of the most important elements of Passover is the seder, which involves the gathering of family around the Passover table. Many rabbis say you should resist the temptation of digital connectivity during the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, but many Jews are making an exception and using Zoom or other video-conferencing software to create virtual Passover tables.
This Muslim holiday starts April 23 but the Canada Council of Imams has heeded public health advice and closed mosques. Muslims are being asked to pray at home, as there are no virtual prayers, but some imams are giving virtual sermons on Fridays.
This holiday marks the new year for followers of Hinduism and Sikhism. Many gurdwaras and temples have been offering virtual services through social media and their websites too.
This yearly observance is certainly not a religious holiday but that doesn’t mean that Canadians take this day lightly! Of course, usual practices like taking mom out for brunch are out, so what else can you do if you don’t live with Mom and can’t give her a hug?
Have you and Mom always dreamed of going to Paris? You can go on virtual tours of the famous Louvre museum. Zoos, art galleries and all sorts of other cultural venues whose doors are closed have virtual windows open for you too.
Stay home, but stay social.
People are now doing everything online – from exercise and cooking classes to virtual tours of faraway places and even attending funerals. Even if you’re not celebrating specific holidays but want to keep in touch, there are now so many creative ways to spend time together. Here are a few other ideas to stay connected and have fun:
- Netflix Party is new twist on movie night, offering a way to watch Netflix with your friends online and includes a group chat.
- JQBX is the next best thing to a dance party. It’s free and links to Spotify, letting you join a party, be a DJ or just listen and chat with others
- HouseParty offers screen-shared experiences so you can play games or watch TV together.
Being isolated doesn’t mean being disconnected. Turn on your computer and explore the big digital world that connects us all.