Spring has sprung. And while it’s still chilly in New York, the new season has also brought some much-welcomed sun.
The warmer weather has really boosted my spirits, especially after a dark and challenging winter with the coronavirus pandemic. The sunlight has also improved my mood and energy levels, inspiring me to do some activities I did back in early-quarantine times.
Remember that time? When things with the pandemic were just starting? There was a level of naive optimism back then when we thought working from home would only last a few weeks.
It inspired many of us to pick up old hobbies and start new projects, from puzzles to knitting to baking and more. But fast-forward a year, and I’m finding joy again in some of the same activities I did back then – when extra time at home was fresh and exciting. For starters, I broke out the crafts again. I made a clay dish just for fun, and it took my mind off things for a while. I wasn’t thinking about the pandemic, deadlines, or anything else – I just focused on shaping and smoothing my clay.
I also had a wonderful picnic with my girlfriend over the weekend, where we soaked up some sun while eating sandwiches and playing cards. And I’ve been taking my reading outdoors, walking to nearby parks for a much-needed change of scenery.
The best part about these outdoor activities is they still allow me to stay socially distant from others. Because although more and more people are getting vaccinated, we know wearing masks and maintaining our distance is still an essential part of further reducing the spread of COVID.
Spring holidays are here!
The spring season also means several religious holidays are being (or soon-to-be) celebrated.
Last year, religious leaders were forced to plan virtual services for Easter, Ramadan, and Passover as COVID-19 began spreading in the United States.
Now, as a small but growing percentage of Americans have been vaccinated, and gatherings are allowed in many states, the faithful are greeting the 2021 holy season with a mix of excitement, enthusiasm – and caution, my colleagues Kaanita Iyer and Miguel Torres write.
Churches, synagogues, and mosques across the country are taking various approaches to recognize the holidays amid the pandemic. A few have lifted capacity limits completely, while others offer options for virtual or socially distanced celebrations.
Passover, which marks the liberation of enslaved Jewish people in Egypt, began at sundown last Saturday and ends April 4, when Christians celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Christ. Orthodox Easter is May 2.
Meanwhile, the holy month of Ramadan will span from April 12 to May 12 and culminate with Eid al-Fitr, which will break the monthlong, sunrise-to-sunset fasts for Muslims.