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Easter will be celebrated in new ways

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Many, however, will still use the time to worship with their immediate family.

THE CORONAVIRUS will change the way city residents spend Easter this year.

For some, this time of the year is often an ideal opportunity to go away or spend time with the family.

The lockdown, however, means that this is no longer an option and most people will be spending Easter at home.

Many, however, will still use the time to worship with their immediate family and are expected to log into DStv’s pop-up channel, Africa Easter Channel, which will launch today (Thursday).

The channel, on DStv 343, will cater for the overwhelming percentage of the South African population who observe and celebrate Easter and various denominations will be covered.

Popular gospel artists such as Lebo Sekgobela, Dr Tumi, Hillsong, William McDowell and Rebecca Malope will feature prominently on the channel.

The channel’s schedule will also include churches such as Methodist, Anglican and Catholic.

Other residents have already used technology and social media to view, for example, the Pope’s Palm Sunday service.

“We have always gone to church over Easter and this year we will still attend the services, especially Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, the only difference is that we will do it from our homes, where we will tune into Radio Veritas,” one Catholic family said.

Many local churches have indicated that they will be streaming all their services over Easter and loading them onto their website or on Facebook. “We celebrated Palm Sunday online as well and some people put green branches on their doors and gates and our church will do the same with the Easter services.”

Another resident said her church had posted all of the Holy Week sermons on their WhatsApp group. “We are also getting a daily sermon for the duration of the lockdown.”

Other churches are following a similar pattern, and staying in touch with their flock by social media.

“While people might not be physically going to church this year, there is definitely more focus on family orientation, caring and checking up on others. People are understanding the true meaning of being a Christian,” one resident stated.

The lockdown has also not stopped many people from carrying out their usual Easter traditions, from pickled fish, to hot cross buns and Easter eggs.

“The Easter bunny is still expected to hide a few Easter eggs in the garden at our house on Sunday morning,” the father of two small children said. “He might not be as generous as he was in the past but we will make a plan. Luckily we bought most of our eggs early this year.

“Unfortunately though it will just be us at home, without the usual grandparents, cousins and other family with us to celebrate Easter.”

One resident pointed out that the volume of Easter eggs being bought this year was far less than usual. “Usually by the last week before Easter the shops are all sold out of eggs. But this year, the shelves are all still full.”

Some residents have had time on their hands to make their own Easter fare. “We have made our own pickled fish this year for Good Friday. Normally we place and order and someone else makes it for us.”

Others indicated that they have even tried their hand at making their own hot cross buns. “There are quite a lot of recipes around. Actually looking at what’s on social media, it seems that you haven’t been in lockdown if you haven’t made your own home-made banana bread. I am not even sure what the deal is about banana bread – it’s a bit like stockpiling toilet paper no one really knows why but everyone is doing it.”

While Easter eggs and hot cross buns are still expected to make an appearance at many tables this year, most people have indicated that their celebrations will be far more muted.

“I am not making the traditional spread that we would normally do. We will probably just have a small braai this Easter.

“We will keep the family traditions and get-togethers for once the lockdown is over and life gets back to normal. For now, we are just thankful for the grace that we are still alive and healthy and we hope to keep it that way, even if it means that Easter will not be what it usually is for our family.”

Supermarkets yesterday reflected the sentiments of many residents that Easter would be low key this year.

Some residents in local supermarkets, which were relatively quiet yesterday, indicated that they didn’t have money to spend on Easter luxuries, while others said that they weren’t buying much as there were no visitors expected.