Families often reunite at Christmas every year, enjoying a hearty meal together in a warm atmosphere, filled with laughter.
The world has had its quietest Christmas in decades
However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 acute respiratory infection pandemic, that traditional activity could not be carried out this year, when people had to comply with social restrictions to prevent the epidemic. Services have moved online while gifts have also shrunk considerably.
Patricia Hager, 60 years old, has sent caramel rolls she made herself for breakfast to family and friends in Bismarck, North Dakota (USA) – a state heavily affected by the pandemic. COVID-19 pandemic. For her part, almost every time she opened her door, she found someone had sent her smoked salmon, baskets of nuts or cookies. Ms. Hager said: “Christmas this year love is at your doorstep. I’m happy that people will be able to come to us next year when there is a vaccine. I could give up anything to save money. get it”.
With economies reeling from the pandemic, this is not a year of luxuries. Mrs. Robin Sypniewski from Middlesex County, New Jersey (USA) has been forced to stop serving lunch at school twice and now has her hours reduced, while her husband – a garbage collector – will also lose her job from next week as the company cuts staff and her daughter struggles with college tuition.
For Christmas this year, Mrs. Sypniewski, 58, was only able to buy her daughter one set of pajamas, while last year’s gift for this occasion was a diamond bracelet. Meanwhile, the gift she gave her husband was a memento worth $20 – a huge drop in value from last year’s tablet.
In Sao Paulo (Brazil), driver Dennys Abreu, 56, had to drive a taxi around the city all night to pay for the $300 a month installment payment for the car he bought after losing his job. . In Brazil, an estimated 14 million people have lost their jobs like Mr. Abreu. “I try to work as hard as I can, try to get through this difficult period, and hopefully this damn virus will go away next year,” he said.
With a baby about to be born in February 2021, Ms. Song Ju-hyeon living in Paju (Korea) said that home is the only place she feels safe. South Korean health officials have confirmed that the country has an additional 1,241 cases of COVID-19 on December 25 – the highest daily record in the country. “I don’t feel like Christmas anyway, no carols in the streets,” she said.
Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper made a pun when calling this year’s Christmas “Christmask”, referring to the rule that everyone needs to wear masks to prevent epidemics. The sudden increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in this African country even made the doctors here “reluctantly” end the strike that was underway on Christmas Eve to join forces to save the patients. patient. Christmas Day celebrations have been quiet in this East African country due to a curfew that has prevented people from attending church services throughout the night like every year.
Pope Francis delivered his Christmas message in the Vatican, instead of his traditional act of speaking from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in front of tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square. Tourism in Italy has almost been “frozen” due to the country’s government’s restrictive regulations to prevent the chain of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Because of these regulations, people no longer flock to the squares like in previous years.
Even so, Pope Francis still steers people toward optimism. He likened advances in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine to a “Light of hope” in the world. He also called on leaders, businesses and international organizations to ensure that the most vulnerable and needy during the pandemic will be the first to receive the vaccine.
Bells still ring in Bethlehem during Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But Israel’s closure of the international airport to foreign tourists, and the Palestinian Authority’s ban on intercity travel in areas it administers in the West Bank has made visitors absent from this sacred land.
In Beijing (China), churches suddenly announced the cancellation of mass after the capital area was put on alert due to the detection of 2 cases of COVID-19 last week and the next. 2 cases of the disease showed no symptoms on December 25.
Around the world, most church services have moved online. The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles (USA) celebrated 5 Masses at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels, with the attendance of more than 130 people. All Masses are streamed live on the internet platform.
The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (USA) also conducts five Masses, but the number of in-person attendees is limited to 25 people, compared with 2,000 before the pandemic. Pastor Elizabeth Marie Melchionna said: “For hundreds of years, Christians have celebrated Christmas in all different circumstances. There are many different forms, but the essence of this activity remains the same. What hasn’t changed is the basic desire and mutual exchange of loving feelings on the day of Christ’s birth.”
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