Although coronavirus measures prevented many Easter celebrations from taking place in the UK, many of the planned services and events were moved online to keep the festival alive.
This year, Easter weekend fell on the 2-5 of April, over a week earlier than it did last year. The holiday is always celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon (known as the ‘Passover Moon’) after the first day of spring. Even though the date shifts from year to year, it always remains within the span of 21 March to 25 April.
This means that the holiday came less than a week before the next step in the government’s road map to easing Covid-19 restrictions, resulting in many of the celebratory activities being unable to go ahead.
The annual performance of the Passion of Jesus, held in Trafalgar Square, was one such casualty of the virus. The show is performed by the Winterfell Players, featuring a cast of over 100 actors and often drawing crowds of all faiths, numbering into the tens of thousands. It has been a staple part of the Easter weekend celebrations in London for many years, but due to social distancing measures, this year a video recording of the 2019 rendition has been made available to watch online.
In Norwich, the historic cathedral remained closed over Easter weekend, “to help combat the spread of Covid-19.” However, members of the church created a series of videos and podcasts to assist with worship, releasing the content on the Norwich Cathedral Services YouTube channel. An email address was also made available for people to send in their prayers over the internet.
Reverend Jane Hedges, the Dean of Norwich, said: “The regular rhythm of worship at Norwich Cathedral is continuing, albeit in very different ways, and as we approach Holy Week and Easter, we are preparing a series of podcasts and videos that we hope will help people continue to feel connected to the Cathedral community.”
The BBC featured its usual televised Sunday service: a collection of Bible readings and music from the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and the King’s Singers, a cappella group founded at the college in 1968. The music was conducted by Daniel Hyde, a former student of King’s who has made numerous appearances at the BBC Proms. The service aired on BBC Two from 18:55 for a little over an hour on Easter Sunday.