The coronavirus pandemic has changed this year’s Sham El-Nessim and Easter celebrations in Egypt, forcing people to stay at home as they welcome spring in their own way.
The ancient Egyptian festival of Sham El-Nessim marks the start of spring, with families taking daytrips to parks to enjoy the good weather.
However, the Egyptian government last week announced that public parks and gardens would be closed during this year’s spring holiday. The closures were designed to deter gatherings and curb the spread of COVID-19.
As parks closed their doors, Egyptians celebrated the occasion at home, with dozens of videos circulated on social media featuring the many ways they celebrated inside. Many posted videos and photos showing their families painting eggs or preparing new recipes.
Egyptian Sham El-Nessim follows the Orthodox Easter. The dish most closely associated with the spring celebration is Feseekh or salted fish.
Like other spring festivals around the world, Egyptians paint and decorate eggs. In Egypt, many believe that if they write wishes on the eggs then hang them from trees and houses, these wishes will come true.
Worldwide, the Easter celebrations were also different due to the lockdowns or social distancing being practiced as a result of COVID-19 outbreak. In the US, many kept a safe social distance as the Easter Bunny visited their neighbourhood.
As churches remain closed to the public, many live streamed their Easter services due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Chocolate makers in the US, England, and Switzerland made Easter chocolate rabbits wearing face masks, while in Scotland, bakeries made chocolate eggs wearing medical masks.
Medical staff in Italy’s San Filippo Neri Hospital’s COVID-19 department received Easter eggs as gifts.
As it enters its fourth week of lockdown due to the ongoing crisis, closed chocolate stores in Belgium displayed Easter eggs in widows. In Germany, Schuerener Backparadies Bakery made biscuits representing Easter eggs wearing face masks, and cakes baked in the shape of tissues to celebrate Easter amid the coronavirus pandemic.