01:45 GMT29 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Christians comprise 2.3 percent of the population of India, which is home to multiple religions and ethnicities. But the coronavirus pandemic has dampened the spirit of the long-awaited Easter holiday as the country is under lockdown and social gatherings are prohibited.

    While some Indian Christians are upset about not being able to celebrate Easter with friends and relatives - most of them attended sermons online, and others are thankful that at least they are alive to celebrate despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Faith, a college student, says that celebrating a major Christian festival within her house feels quite unorthodox.

    "We attended the service online and followed the routine like we would in our church. The priest blessed the Bread and Wine, symbolic of the body and blood of Christ online, and we took part in the communion like we usually would. It definitely feels unorthodox, but in extraordinary testing times like these, we are thankful that we were able to celebrate Easter in the little ways that we could," Faith explains.

    As churches remain partially closed and mass gatherings are prohibited, members of the Christian community watched live streaming of Easter prayers in churches on apps such as Zoom and social media website Facebook. Later on, feasts were prepared at home to celebrate the day.

    Juliya, who is preparing for her Ph.D, has revealed that she attended the sermon online and missed the holy communion this Easter.

    “I felt a little upset. Jesus' Resurrection is the reason why we are Christians and yet we couldn't visit church that day. Mostly people visit church on Easter, Good Friday and Christmas, but this time even that isn't possible,” she laments.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to extend his best wishes to the people of the country. Other prominent politicians such as opposition leader Rahul Gandhi also sent their warm greetings to the people on this auspicious occasion.

    ​In India, the vast majority of the Christian population (88%) reside in the north-eastern state of Nagaland, and Easter is a joyous occasion in the state. However, churches in the region are currently closed.

    Tisha Mariam Thomas, wife of a priest, has urged people to "lockdown themselves" with Christ this Easter, saying that the world would soon return to normal.

    "We may not be able to go to church but we can be close to his cross. We may be unable to participate in the public worship but can certainly participate through the word of God. This time we may not be able to bow down before the cross but indeed we can kneel down with family in our homes in prayer," she said.

    Easter is known as the greatest feast for Christians to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ and people traditionally exchange decorated eggs. Special church services are organised along with musical engagements. 

    India is under a 21-day lockdown announced by Modi on 24 March. The shutdown is likely to be extended as the virus situation is worsening - there are 7,409 active cases and 273 people have lost their lives to the disease.

    Topic:
    Novel Coronavirus: Number of COVID-19 Infections Exceeds 1.5 Mln Globally (87)

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