A COVID Celebration — Observing Easter During the Global Pandemic

Staff writer Taylor Mascetta was able to connect with her family on Easter despite the ongoing pandemic. (Courtesy of Taylor Mascetta/The Fordham Ram)

Staff writer Taylor Mascetta was able to connect with her family on Easter despite the ongoing pandemic. (Courtesy of Taylor Mascetta/The Fordham Ram)

My family considers Easter to be one of the most important days of the year as it not only gives us the chance to celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection, but it also allows us to spend time with relatives and friends that we don’t see often. Naturally, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic upending all large gatherings, our Easter plans looked very different this year. My family and I found ourselves cooped up in our home instead of attending Mass and visiting our relatives’ houses. Despite this change in pace, we looked on the bright side and celebrated the holiday in a safe, socially distanced way.

This year marked my second Easter celebration during a global pandemic. However, it also happened to be my first Easter celebration as a college student returning home for the weekend because I had already been home for a few weeks before the holiday due to the campus shut down last year. My parents and younger sister, Caitlyn, drove up to the Bronx on Holy Saturday and enjoyed a nice day on Arthur Avenue before picking me up after track practice. Personally, coming home for the weekend for Easter served as a much-needed vacation. Returning home for just a few days gave me a breather from my busy schedule, which I greatly cherished with the absence of spring break this year. 

However, staying home and not seeing my extended family was definitely a bit of a bummer. Under normal circumstances, I would see the majority of my relatives during this holiday and spend the entire day with them, but due to COVID-19, my family and I stayed home to avoid putting others at risk. I haven’t seen many of my aunts, uncles or cousins since the start of the pandemic, and we might not reunite until later this summer. Luckily, my maternal grandparents had the opportunity to come to my house and celebrate with us, since they live relatively close and have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Even though I couldn’t see many people that I miss dearly, I did enjoy staying in for this year’s holiday. Normally, our Easters consist of rushing back and forth from Church to home to my cousins’ or grandparents’ house. This year, we were able to sit back and relax a little bit at home. We all slept in, spent a long time going through our Easter baskets and watched our annual Easter Mass over a virtual live stream. When my grandparents arrived, all of us gathered around the TV after dinner and watched the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship. For the first time in a while, I felt completely relaxed.

Staying in also gave my family more time to make some really, really good food. My parents are both great chefs, so they whipped up amazing dishes with ingredients they purchased on Arthur Avenue. These included pastries, bacon, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, olive bread, broccoli rabe, sausage, pork and a loaf of Easter bread. After eating nothing but the cafeteria’s dinners and Cosí sandwiches for the past few weeks, I highly anticipated these meals, and they did not disappoint. 

Even though things looked a little different this year, my family and I still upheld some of our yearly traditions. Ever since I was little, the “Easter Bunny” has hidden chocolate eggs around our backyard, and my sister and I race every single year to see who can collect the most. Even though I’m turning 20 in September, I still look forward to running around like a little kid during the egg hunt every year. Having the chance to do this brought some sense of normalcy to the day. 

At the end of the day, I realized that this year’s holiday encapsulated what Easter is really all about — embracing God’s love for us by loving one another. Jesus died on the Cross to demonstrate God’s undying love for his creation, and we can exemplify this love by spending time with one another. I hadn’t seen my family since returning to Fordham in January, so just spending the entire day with them meant the world to me. My family and I experienced so many special moments with each other over the course of the day — from pulling out our rusty Wii U to play Super Mario 3D World with my sister, to teasing my dad about his excitement over the Arthur Avenue bacon, to struggling to take a timer-camera family portrait on our tripod. 

I miss celebrating Easter in our typical fashion and I wish I saw my relatives as I usually do, but just having the day to sit back and enjoy the time with my family made this year’s Easter much more worthwhile. We didn’t have to worry about rushing back and forth and instead just got to live in the moment. Hopefully the pandemic will be a distant memory by this time next year, but I’ll never forget some of the realizations I had over the course of this holiday.