How NYU students celebrate Easter during COVID-19

COVID-19 regulations prompt NYU students to reimagine the Easter holiday.

A year after COVID, how are students handling their second pandemic Easter? (Staff Photo by Jake Capriotti)

Easter Sunday, a day usually filled with chocolate bunnies, egg hunts and family meals will look quite different this year for NYU students.

While the holiday carries a religious meaning, for many people, Easter is also an opportunity for families to gather and spend time with each other. Global Liberal Studies junior Erin Zubarik holds fond childhood memories of Easter celebrations with her family.

“[Easter is] about going to church and then after that being with my family and going on Easter egg hunts and getting a basket with a chocolate bunny, you know, the classics,” Zubarik said. 

Liberal Studies sophomore Daria Kowalski also celebrates Easter with her family. Kowalski placed a large emphasis on the holiday’s religious importance for members of her family. 

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“Even though I don’t necessarily know how I feel about the church, I still know that the holiday was so important to [my dad] and family time was as well,” said Kowalski. 

Both Zubarik and Kowalski stated that their favorite parts of the holiday were the time spent with family. However, family time is inaccessible to most in the current COVID-19 world. Traveling long distances to see loved ones is highly discouraged and requires a quarantine period that does not rule out exposure.

So what exactly will NYU students do to make this holiday feel as normal as possible this year?

Zubarik still wants to maintain the festive element of Easter, despite her current circumstances.

“There’s a really cute store down the street, and they make these huge chocolate bunnies.” Zubarik said. “so maybe I will get a chocolate bunny for my roommates and stuff like that and make some sort of meal with them because we like to cook too.”

Kowalski, on the other hand, will treat Easter Sunday like any other typical day.

“Since we don’t have any time off for it I’ll probably just do homework like any other Sunday,” Kowalski said. “Maybe I’ll get Easter candy, but it definitely won’t be as elaborate as it usually is.”

Kowalski added that her family might do a Zoom dinner on Easter, but that is the extent of her celebration this year. 

Despite these adjustments, both Zubarik and Kowalski said that the absence of their families makes it difficult to fully embrace the holiday.

“It’s very different to not be able to go to church since it’s still the best thing to be social distancing,” Kowalski said. “It’s really different going from family time to it being a small group of us and then to just being me.” 

“Easter is a lot about family to me, and I’m not with my family right now and I can’t really go back,” Zubarik said. “There is this division that’s been created with the virus that makes it hard to celebrate things the way we once did.”

COVID-19 has made traveling and congregating in large groups dangerous for over a year now, with some countries entering new lockdowns. However, the rollout of vaccines offers a glimmer of hope that there will be a day in the near future where holidays can be celebrated the way they used to be before the pandemic.

Luckily, this Easter looks far less bleak than last year’s — which is thankfully something to celebrate.

A version of this article appeared in the April 5 e-print edition. Email Sarah Gil at [email protected] 

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