This week, three major religious holidays are coinciding for the first time in over 30 years: Ramadan, Easter and Passover.
And as more COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, more people are choosing to observe those holidays in person for the first time in two years.
“Our faith is based on God incarnate and so being able to come together physically together in the same place, it means the world to us,” said pastor Anne Jolly with St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Deerfield. “After several years of being online only, to be able to come together brings this particular holiday to life in a way that is really important to us.”
During the past few years, the church has been celebrating online, Jolly said. They’ve also done drive through communion and throw confetti to those driving by.
Imam Hassan Aly, with The Mecca Center in Willowbrook, said not having Ramadan in person was difficult, however the Center has stayed together virtually. And now after two years to be celebrating in person again, he said there’s an opportunity to reflect and learn.
“We now should take a step back and look at how we have been living live before the pandemic, during the pandemic and after the pandemic,” Aly said. “Seeing a friend in a street or in a place of worship is not something we should take for granted.”
Rabbi Evan Moffic with Makom Solel Lakeside in Highland Park said the pandemic has led to a tremendous increase in membership. While he was once worried about the effect of COVID-19 on his community, there was a renewed interest.
“We had more people participating, more people calling me and seeking guidance and people grasping on to the simple pleasures of community, learning family and friendship that a synagogue, church and a mosque represent,” Moffic said.
With the three holidays falling in line with each other, Aly said it’s God saying that the communities “need to start fresh together.” Aly’s mosque is holding a banquet, including a rabbi and pastor to hear about their faith and how their communities were affected by COVID-19.
“In many ways, we’re entering into the time of spring, the rebirth of nature,” Moffic said. “I really do think this is a time of rebirth and renewal — hopefully turning a corner and reinvigorating our lives in community.”