Celebrants flock to parks and outdoor activities on first Easter weekend in three years without COVID restrictions

Easter train rides from Stanley Park sold out on Friday and border crossings into the United States drew long lines all day as British Columbians ditched their vaccination passports and some of their masks

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After COVID-19 canceled Easter and other long-weekend rituals for the past two years, British Columbians looked ready on Friday to celebrate all three major religious holidays this weekend — Vaisakhi, Passover or Easter.

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The sun was barely shining in Metro Vancouver on Good Friday, a public holiday in British Columbia, but a little rain didn’t deter families from grabbing all the tickets for the park’s Easter train rides Stanley. The event, which was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, sold out on Friday.

“As soon as we heard about it, we bought the tickets online,” said Judy Kim of West Vancouver, who was at the park with her husband, John Ahn, and their children, David, six, and Lina, three. years.

The family had also attended the Christmas train ride at the park and said protocols were stricter then because ticket holders still had to show their vaccination passports, a public health order that has been waived in British Columbia. April 8.

“Now kids can run around everywhere,” Kim said. “It’s much more different now.”

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Federal public health officials have said Canada is in a sixth wave, due to a variant of Omicron that has caused a surge of cases in central Canada.

Called BA.2, it arrived in British Columbia in early 2022 and now accounts for half of the cases in the province. In Stanley Park on Friday, few people wore masks.

The Easter train at Stanley Park in Vancouver was sold out on Friday as families flocked to the Easter-themed event.  Alannah Brietkopf from Coquitlam attended the event with her niece and nephew.
The Easter train at Stanley Park in Vancouver was sold out on Friday as families flocked to the Easter-themed event. Alannah Brietkopf from Coquitlam attended the event with her niece and nephew. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

“It’s so nice to see people this year,” said Alannah Brietkopf of Coquitlam, who attended the event with her niece and nephew, Keera, eight, and Keegan, five.

She didn’t mind not wearing a mask outside and she once went maskless to a Vancouver Canucks hockey game and an indoor concert. She also had tickets to an indoor concert at the Orpheum on Friday.

“It’s nice to be able to do away with the masks,” Brietkopf said.

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But Becky Liu of Coquitlam and her children Matthew, eight, and Hannah, four, all wore masks at the Stanley Park event.

“Last year, we didn’t go to any parties,” Liu said. “Now we can go out and the kids can go out and play.”

In a rare convergence, Passover, Easter and Ramadan, the Muslim month of daytime fasting, prayer and community, coincide this year. Ramadan ends with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr on May 1 and 2.

Thousands of British Columbians attended services to mark Good Friday to commemorate Christ’s crucifixion nearly 2,000 years ago, three days before he was resurrected on Easter Sunday. The Eastern Orthodox and some Eastern Catholics celebrate Easter on April 24 this year.

The week-long Jewish holiday of Passover began on Friday, with the first ritual dinner called the seder, usually held in homes and community centers to mark the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, led by Moses, he over 3000 years ago. The second night of the seder was to take place on Saturday.

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Meanwhile, Sikh organizers took the decision last month to cancel massive Vaisakhi parades that celebrate spring and the birth of the Khalsa – by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Sikh Guru, in 1699 – in Vancouver and Surrey , for the third consecutive year. because of covid.

But there will be a Vaisakhi celebration at the Ross Street temple on Saturday, starting with prayers and hymns at 8 a.m., followed by an outdoor celebration at noon, with live music, a small parade and free vegetarian food, including lentils and rice, jalebi, pakoras and samosas and more, as an act of seva, or selfless service. The event is free but guests are asked to RSVP.

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