New Delhi, December 25, 2020
One of the most joyous festivals- Christmas sees a lacklustre celebration all over the globe due to COVID restrictions.
The Marching bands on Thursday with their lively music at Bethlehem – cited as the traditional birthplace of Christ had very few live listeners and onlookers. This was due to the strict guidelines and the lockdown imposed there in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
All over the world family gatherings and packed churches/ prayer houses mark the celebrations every year. This year in view of the lockdown and mandatory adherence to the imposed guidelines we are seeing very subdued and simple celebrations. The residents of Australia had to buy online tickets to attend church services that were conducted following the social distancing norms. With strict curfew rules that had been imposed Pope Francis was preparing to celebrate mass in the evening in an almost empty Vatican city.
Italians visited grocery stores to buy provisions for preparing Christmas delicacies but have to keep in mind the rule of not more than two people from outside assembling with their main families for the celebrations. The celebrations all over Europe were also either cancelled or held in very low key due to the latest lockdown announcement in view of the discovery of the new variant of the COVID- 19 virus. Irate and frustrated truck drivers are stranded in large numbers at the port of Dover, and unable to cross over to France. This is due to the slow rate of COVID-19 tests being conducted by the UK. The Covid – 19 negative test is mandatory for crossing over to France, a condition that has been imposed by the French authorities.
Indonesia has recorded a surge in COVID-19 cases and services at the churches are limited to 50 only. 10% of Indonesia’s population is Christian. Lebanon with the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East has cancelled celebrations or kept it minimalistic and very subdued. The UK is reeling under the pressure of new restrictions due to the discovery of the new strain of the virus. Countries like Canada, USA and India also have COVID lockdowns and restrictions in place. COVID – 19 and its’ new variant have indeed proved to be the biggest spoiler of 2020, dampening the festive spirit of Christmas globally.