Celebrating Our Resilience As Well as the Holidays

Coronavirus has posed unique and unforeseeable challenges this holiday season. Read on to learn about how Byram Hills students spent their holiday in these unusual circumstances.

By Nora Lowe

Late April constitutes a time of hectic preparations for holidays such as Easter and Passover. Some families purchase eggs to dye, while others stock up on matzah and begin researching recipes. However, this year, the havoc caused by the coronavirus led to complicated circumstances, and many were left scrambling to organize their holiday plans due to a range of obstacles that could not have been anticipated.

The implementation of Zoom in schools and the platform’s resulting publicity have led to an increase in its popularity, and a number of families used it as an interface in which to have virtual gatherings with loved ones this holiday season. Griffen Nenner, a junior, commented that his family used Zoom to hold their Seder, although, he would have “rather seen them face to face.”

Another unique hurdle prompted by these unusual circumstances was the avoidance of the supermarket. When COVID-19 was originally broadcasted as a possible danger, supermarkets became battlefields as the worried, the wise, and the paranoid sought to stock up on toilet paper and canned goods. Amelia Chung, a sophomore, recalled that “I went to DeCicco’s once (my parents have not let me leave the house ever since) and I had to wear gloves. They were giving everyone hand sanitizer too.” Now, these once-bustling hotspots have morphed into ghost towns, as practices such as social distancing discourage gatherings, especially in public places. 

Families have been forced to craft creative solutions to this problem, either by ordering food from delivery services or by making countless substitutions to recipes. Keeping kosher for Passover became especially difficult, as it was hard to prepare dishes meeting certain requirements without buying groceries as often as usual. In addition to beloved holiday foods, there are also important activities which characterize these celebrations, such as attending religious services with family, or decorating the house. Holidays are often defined by these associated traditions, and it was definitely difficult to maintain them this year. 

Unfortunately, some students had to forgo their annual holiday routine. Freshman Mike Moreno noted that his family usually “celebrates [Easter] with eggs and candy,” but this year they were not able to because they were “trying not to leave the house too much.” 

However, others found creative ways to alter or tweak these practices so they could still take place. Tanya Postian, a sophomore, shared that her family was “not able to go to Church for Easter Sunday, which was a little disappointing.” However, she still was able to attend an online service from another church. She reasoned that even though they “missed out on a few nice traditions given the circumstances, we were still able to celebrate.” 

Although celebrating the holidays posed some uncommon challenges this year, it also demonstrated our capacity to be resilient and adaptive in the face of trying times.