Nagaland: Creating new Easter traditions amid lockdown

Nagaland: Creating new Easter traditions amid lockdown
Nagaland: Creating new Easter traditions amid lockdown

Morung Express News

Dimapur | April 12

Over the last few weeks, Christians in Nagaland, like most of the places around the globe, have adapted to the closing of church mass services on account of the Coronavirus anticipation. In some parts of the world this might not be the first Easter when churches have closed because of epidemics. However, it is relatively a first time for many in Nagaland. 

As with everything in the current circumstances, the Resurrection Sunday or Easter Sunday also came with interesting turns. This year’s services and family gatherings was unlike any before, as people follow social distancing guidelines meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, this did not dampen down the spirit of the celebration. Churches took to the online service to host special programmes for Sunday school children and likewise for the adults too. Families and neighbours organized their own Easter egg traditions. 


Creating moments to treasure

Moamen Jamir a resident of Nagarjan sharing her lockdown Easter experience said that after putting her three girls to sleep, she and her husband got the eggs ready and decorated till 1:00 am. 

“First thing we did in the morning was wished them and like a secret mission, took the eggs to our balcony, hid it on different plant pots, returned to the girls and announced them about a surprise we had for them. They were so happy and thankful,” an excited Moamen shares. 

Her joy was multiplied when her children planned their own egg hunt for the parents. “In the morning, they went to the balcony and hid the eggs and that is how mummy and daddy had our own first egg hunt. My girls are growing.”

“We wanted to see them smile in this time of stress. It was a great opportunity to remind them about the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, His win over death and how He is still protecting us from sicknesses. In return, they gave us back joy and moments to treasure,” she says. 

Moamen who is also the proprietor and administrator, Joy Bells Preschool says, “I also gave a task to the parents of my students. It is a tradition in our school to have egg hunting. But since this time we are all locked at home, I encouraged the parents to do this activity with them.”


A special Easter

“Since childhood we have been celebrating the Passion Week and Easter Sunday was always a happy and joyful day for most of us, but this year with the current situation going on, the Easter wishes from people seemed to give more joy than never before,” Vimele Yoho from Dimapur expresses. 

For Vimele, she says that the Easter wishes made the resurrection of Christ more real and” I can deeply feel how much Jesus loved us.”

She also says that this Easter is passing by without any Easter eggs to paint or decorate but her heart is made full receiving pictures from nephews and nieces from different places who are engaging themselves in painting and decorating Easter eggs and making crafts sitting in their own homes and keeping the joy of Easter alive. 

“Some family members also sent pictures of having the sunrise service in their own homes with the family which made this Easter very special again in a unique way because we are bringing the risen Lord in our homes which we might have lost along the way,” she adds. 

“This Easter is special to me because, I am made to rest in His presence and fully experience how blessed I am to have a living God whom I worship,” Vimele affirmed. 


‘Unusual yet unique’

Metseibino Chusi who teaches in a mission school says that this Easter has been “unusual yet the most unique Easter” she ever celebrated. 

Though unable to make it to the church due to the prevailing lockdown, Metsi says she could have fellowship with few people, which according to her were so much worth the celebration. “I realised how nothing of the physical world can ever overpower the finished work of Christ, His Resurrection and His spirit that lives in each one of us who believes in Him.”

Metsi also shares that she spent this Easter introspecting herself as well as engaging in productive ways. “I might have probably missed it, if things were just normal. Besides, sharing the Gospel to the children through social media was also a new and challenging experience I had this Easter,” she said. 

For Ihang Lungalang, this Easter he spent time with his family. “If there was no lockdown or this covid-19 thing, would have gone to church,” he says while adding “But that is not stopping us to acknowledge that Jesus has risen this very day. We had a prayer meeting and worship as soon as we woke up along with family and later joined online Church service through facebook.”

Re-building, retrospection and reconnecting with God

“Although we miss the traditional church services, yet this Easter has been a time for re-building, retrospection, reconnecting truly with our family and our self with God. Easter has been extraordinarily special for us,” shares Mhabemo Kithan. 

Mhabemo who is based in Eastern Theological College Jorhat, Assam says that they had the “best family fellowship time together, praying and having a joyous time with simple fritters for tea and a little bit of laughter for all.”

“Even before Easter, during this entire lockdown we have been feeling really grateful for the immeasurably love Christ has bestowed to us above everyone. The past few weeks, each day have been a victory in Christ for us. More thankful for the valuable time we are being blessed to have with loved family,” he stated. 

“Easter to us has been extraordinarily special with our three years old son, humming hymnals with us and the joy of hearing him filled our home with "Yes, Jesus Loves me" chorus which we have been teaching him for we feel Easter is not just about one Sunday but it is about the victory in Christ which we receive every day,” shares a delighted Mhabemo. 

“Like Christ triumph over death for the gift of new life, we pray and believe that the new hope and new life He has given to us all will be ignited in all of us even through the darkest times,” he prayed. 


Towards a new future

Sharing a very personal experience, Charles Saldanha, Trainer from Signal, Dimapur says, “For my wife and I, having faced a miscarriage earlier in the week, this Easter period, death and resurrection, holds an even greater significance for us. We prayed together on Good Friday recognising that death would bring forth the fruition of God's plan for man and perhaps his plans for us too.”

“Even though we are on lockdown we immediately dressed up in our Sunday best when we awoke. We had a breakfast of tea and biscuit and spoke about a new future with a renewed sense of purpose, and then ate a simple Easter lunch of alu and anda,” Charles narrates. 

Looking forward to having a meaningful time ahead Charles said, “We made a start on our new future by walking in our front yard to maintain our health and fitness, to be ready for God’s plans. This evening, we will gather the family together in prayer as the traditional Easter church service is not possible this year. Finally, we will video chat with extended family on the other side of the world to wish them also.”