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Houston families, friends reunite for first time during pandemic

“It just feels more comforting because we can come out here and then forget about it, just for a little bit."

HOUSTON — Whether you’re celebrating Easter, Passover or spring-time family traditions, celebrations are filled with hope.

Last year, as the world was forced to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic, Houston-area parks were closed for the holiday, religious services were streamed online and Gov. Greg Abbott encouraged people to stay home.

In 2021, it was a totally different story. One founded in faith. Whether it’s believing in the resurrection, celebrating a mass exodus or the return of tradition, faith is what helped us get from one April to the next.

“It feels really nice. We have the little ones. We’re going to do Easter egg hunts,” said Evelyn Nava of her extended family’s first holiday together outdoors during the pandemic.

The Nava, Barios and Duarte families met at Stude Park. The Houston family set up a tent, pulled out a grill and unpacked mounds of Easter eggs and toys for young children.

“It just feels more comforting because we can come out here and then forget about it, just for a little bit,” Nava said of the looming pandemic and the health and safety protocols that come with it.

From houses of worship to Houston-area parks, one year later, people navigate the pandemic with a renewed sense of purpose and positivity.

Chris Moreno and his extended family celebrated Easter with a water balloon fight, Easter egg hunt, piñata and an outdoor meal.

As full as parking lots and parks might be this year, Moreno said, “it’s not as full as it has been in the past,” but he says he will keep the faith that it will all come back, eventually.

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