WASHINGTON — The single most important date on the Christian calendar is upon us, but Easter Sunday 2020 is sure to be different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Americans all over the country have been told to stay home, and over half of all states have officially decreed a state of lockdown. Christians of all denominations are going to have to celebrate Easter from home this year — at least that’s what one would think.
Surprisingly, a new nationally representative survey of 400 Americans finds that 56% of worshipers who attended Easter mass last year are willing to brave the pandemic and attend church again this year, as long as their local parish stays open. When respondents were broken down according to political allegiances, Republicans were found to be nearly three times more likely to attend church this year than Democrats.
Additionally, survey responses seem to indicate that the coronavirus pandemic has helped many Americans appreciate their families and health a bit more. In all, 40% feel a greater sense of gratitude for their families, 30% appreciate their health more than ever, and 13% are extra grateful for their freedom.
The research, commissioned by WalletHub, also asked participants about the financial implications of the pandemic. A significant percentage (68%) said that the coronavirus has caused them to cut back on Easter spending this year. Nearly half of Easter-celebrating participants said they’re spending less on Easter candy (42%), outfits (46%), and foods (46%) this year.
Looking at the situation as whole, another 69% said they’re more worried about the coronavirus situation in general than the U.S. economy (30%).
Interestingly, in pretty stark contrast to many respondents’ feeling on attending Easter mass, 50% are in full agreement with the mass shutdowns of businesses across the United States. These respondents believe non-essential businesses should remain closed for at least another three months.
Respondents were also asked about how they’re planning on celebrating Easter this year. In total, 70% will stay home, while 22% are still planning on getting together with family or friends. Eleven percent will attend church no matter what, and 6% will go to a restaurant — which is pretty puzzling considering virtually all eating establishments are closed for dine-in eating.
We’re all searching for a little bit of normalcy right now, and 39% of respondents said they’re hoping to feel normal this Easter by calling up some family members. Meanwhile, 27% plan to video chat with loved ones, 24% are going to watch church on TV, and 20% are going to hold an indoor Easter egg hunt.
Another interesting question posed to participants: “Do you believe the coronavirus has religious significance?” Most said no (82%), while 18% said yes.
Over half (58%) also said that religious organizations aren’t doing enough to help amid this pandemic.