Hyderabad: Abi Abraham woke up on Sunday at around half-past two. He wore his best clothes then opened his laptop. The Easter service at his church had already started. Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, this is how many Christians in the city celebrated Easter this year, on-screen.
Churches in the city had already started conducting services online since the lockdown started. Christians have almost eased into the habit of digital viewing, said Royden Roach, Telangana state president of All India Catholic Union. “Easter services are important. So churches in Hyderabad telecast their service live. They sent YouTube links to devotees so they could live stream the service. I have heard of many people who dressed up to watch the Easter mass just like they would do on any other Easter,” he said.
The usual grandeur and joy associated with the celebration of Christs’ rebirth were missing this year, said S. Arokiadass Lazar, a social worker associated with Dalit and Weaker Sections Welfare Association. “People are worried because we have a serious disease amidst us, the novel Corona virus. Grand celebrations will seem out of place during such times. So, our group distributed food and clothes to the needy people since they are the ones who are most vulnerable during this crisis,” said Lazar.
Easter marks the breaking of Lent, a 50-day fast to commemorate Christs’s sacrifice. “Usually, an Easter feast would be an extravagant affair with varieties of non-vegetarian food prepared for lunch. For instance, in my native place, Easter ‘appams’ - a delicacy made with rice - are a thing. All that is missing this Easter. Nevertheless, my friend and I managed to make some chicken curry and biryani in the spirit of Easter. We also got to experience an Easter amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which is an achievement," said Abi, a research associate from Kerala working at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Hyderabad.