April 10, 2020

Families find unique ways to celebrate holidays virtually

Due to the recent extension of Ohio’s stay-at-home order until at least May 1, Oxford families are finding new unique ways to celebrate holidays in isolation.

With Passover beginning April 8, Easter on April 12, and Ramadan’s commencement on April 22, Ohioans of many religious affiliations are adapting their traditions to cooperate with social distancing guidelines.

Passover, a Jewish celebration of spring which commemorates the liberation of Israelites from Egyptian slavery, is usually celebrated at home. However, it is typical to include others in the celebration, whether it be neighbors, friends or those who are needy. Leah Wasburn-Moses, a Jewish Oxford resident, is celebrating with her family at home and inviting her father virtually. Her husband Jered also extended the virtual invitation to any others who wished to celebrate together.

Palm Sunday, a Christian celebration of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem that occurs a week before Easter, sometimes includes a “palm parade.” Robbyn Forry Abbitt, a farm owner in Oxford, celebrated this by video chatting with close friends from four other states. The friends collectively walked around their houses with branches from trees in their yards. “It was a homemade Palm Parade with people we usually don’t celebrate with because of distance,” Abbitt said. “It was a very special treat.”

Others are simply celebrating Easter at home with family. However, not everyone is so lucky to spend time with all their loved ones.

David Wright, an employee of Wild Berry Incense in Oxford, will not be able to celebrate with all his family this year. His wife, Angela, is currently hospitalized with COVID-19. She has been on a ventilator for several days and can’t talk. Wright said she is in a “coma-like state.”

Wright will be able to celebrate with his oldest child while they’re quarantined at home, but the worries about his wife’s condition persist.

Regardless of what holidays Oxford residents will be celebrating within the coming days and weeks, it appears that spiritual closeness does not require physical closeness.