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Passover, Good Friday and Easter: How to celebrate virtually during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

Governors, city leaders across Ketuckiana, and the country have asked that all in-person religious services be postponed, until it's deemed safe to continue them.

The week leading up to Easter Sunday is considered the Holy Week. This year, many will not be able to have traditional celebrations because of the coronavirus. 

Governors, city leaders across Ketuckiana, and the country have asked that all in-person religious services be postponed, until it's deemed safe to continue them. This means, celebrations and services will have to be done virtually or not at all.

Here are some ways to keep your faith and celebrate together at home as a family or individually from home:

Zoom, the tool many are now using for business meetings and school lessons, is one option. The company is allowing users to sign up and host video conferences for free, and is a fairly easy-to-use tool, even for the technologically-challenged. It's also a good option if you have a large group that normally gathers together for Passover, as it can hold probably more people than those dining room tables can. 

FaceTime is another good option for iPhone and Mac users, especially if you typically have a more intimate Seder or will only have a few people calling in. 

Google Hangouts also has a video chat tool that can connect up to 25 users together at one time, no matter what kind of phone or computer they're on. This option might be a bit more involved than Zoom technically, though, so this explainer sheet from Google is helpful. 

Both Zoom and Google Hangouts offer multiple ways for users to join the video call, including the ability to just send participants meeting codes or links.

Facebook Live. If your church is doing a live via, make sure you have your notifications turned on. You'll get the alert when the pastor starts the live stream. Anyone hosting a live event should: Post notifications about it days in advance and start the live at least 5-10 minutes early. Let the stream be something scenic to give as many people as possible time to join before you actually begin the service. 

House Party App which is good for large group chats. The greatest feature with this app is the ability for people to jump in and out of conversations. As long as you are friends with the host, users can enter and leave  conversation no matter how many people are there. 

Skype The Skype video chat app, group video calling for up to 50 people is available for free on just about any mobile device, tablet or computer. 

What celebrations are part of Holy Week?

Passover

Passover 2020 starts at sundown on Wednesday, April 8th and ends at sundown on Thursday, April 16th. It's celebrated by the Jewish community locally and across the world. 

What is Passover?

First of all, Passover in Hebrew is Pesach. Second of all, it's called Passover because the Angel of Death "passed over" the doorsteps of all the Jews in Egypt when the 10th plague, the killing of the first born, happened. So the angel passed over the homes, that's where we get Passover from. It's a celebration of the redemption by God from slavery in Egypt as we wandered into the desert to go to the promised land.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What is the significance of the holiday and how do you celebrate?

The service is called Seder which includes a Seder plate. There are six different places for six different items-- so eggs, bitter herbs, lamb shank bone, charoset, which is a mixture of apples and honey and nuts, lettuce and then parsley or some kind of green to dip in salt water. The holiday lasts eight days, and Seders are often held on the first two nights. Each item on the Seder plate is representative of something having to do with the Passover story. 

The Jewish Federation of Louisville have some resources to help you celebrate Passover virtually.

Click on Passover to access the information.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday, also called Holy Thursday or Sheer Thursday, the Thursday before Easter, observed in commemoration of Jesus Christ’s institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica online.

Good Friday

Good Friday occurs two days before Easter Sunday in the United States. It is the day when Christians commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion, which plays an important part in the Christian faith, according to the website Time and Date

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's an important day to Christianity, because it represents the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus' life. Traditionally, some churches organize a prayer vigil on Good Friday for various causes, such as for cancer patients or for the American troops who have been sent to the middle-east. Some Christians may attend special church services or prayer vigils. The candles are often extinguished and statues, paintings and crosses may be draped in black, purple or gray cloth. Some Catholics treat Good Friday as a day of fasting, while others observe a partial fast involving the exclusion of meat. 

Easter

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. Traditionally, many churches hold a service at sunrise on Easter Sunday. Some churches hold regularly scheduled Sunday services themed around the meaning of Easter. 

Many church leaders have been honoring the call to stop in-person services and will have those services online, Facebook or on YouTube.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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