Rituals are a part of human life. They give us comfort and help us mark major events in our life-cycle, from births and graduations to marriages and death. And they are also a part of our regular routines — even something as ordinary as going for a haircut or movie night.
But the rituals we used to take for granted every day have been dramatically upended by the pandemic. We asked the photographers who work with Everyday Projects — contributing to Instagram accounts from countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, North America and Europe — to document how people are reinventing rituals in the age of COVID-19.
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Macarena Tabja del Solar/@EverydayPeru
Macarena Tabja del Solar commemorated her 40th birthday with a self-portrait. COVID-19 has made a milestone celebration with friends impossible, and Lima has a 10 p.m. curfew, she says. "So instead, I bought one birthday hat, put on a nice dress and went to my rooftop with some wine and my camera." July 8. Lima, Peru.
Luca Meola/@EverydayBrasil @EverydayAmazon
Pastor Deris of the evangelical charity Novos Sonhos prays before distributing meals in Peri Alto, a favela in São Paulo, Brasil. During quarantine lockdown, food donations helped folks survive. The count of COVID-19 cases in this favela has been low; masks are rarely seen. To encourage this preventive measure, the charity requires food recipients to mask up. June 10. São Paulo.
Michelle Gachet and Dominique Riofrio/@everydaylatinamerica
Lisbeth Riera (left), 17, and Leslie Villacís, 18, hug during a pre-graduation portrait session at Leslie's house — the first time the friends had seen each other since a quarantine began four months earlier. The graduation ceremony is off this year "I imagined that I was going to sing the hymn," said Leslie, "that I was going to hug everyone." July 22. Quito, Ecuador.
Paz Olivares Droguett/@EverydayLatinAmerica
Cooped up together during the pandemic, Paz Olivares Droguett's mother and eldest daughter, Eleanora, find solace in a game of dominoes. Says Droguett: "During this time of confinement, board games have played a big part in our new family rituals." March 20. Valparaíso, Chile.
Gael Pin, 4, wears a cap and mask for the closing ceremony of his school year. Because Gael's family doesn't have an internet connection, they plan to watch the ceremony at their neighbor's house. June 18. Cotogchoa, Ecuador.
Under normal circumstances, the annual commemoration of Imam Mousa Al Kadhem, the seventh Shia Imam, would take place in a packed matam, or congregation hall. Instead, this year's sermon was live streamed to over 800 people in Bahrain and abroad. March 19. Al Markh.
When the school year ended in Cotogchoa, only honor-roll students and their families were allowed to take part in the closing ceremonies — a measure devised for pandemic safety. June 29. Cotogchoa, Ecuador.
Masked World War II veteran Nikolay Borisov (left), 95, shows photos to his friend as they await a Victory Day parade. The Russian holiday, which commemorates WWII each May 9, was postponed until June 24 this year due to the pandemic. Military parades were held but fewer people turned out than usual. June 24. Voronezh, Russia.
Gordwin Odhiambo/The Everyday Projects Community - African Photojournalism Database
Musician Joy Bigo performs for a Facebook Live event staged by Name Experience. The popular show, attended most weeks by lots of young men, has been streaming live recordings since the pandemic began. August 8. Kibera, Kenya.
"Between a health condition that caused my hair to thin considerably and living in quarantine, I haven't had a haircut in 10 months," says Liz Moughon. "My friend Jason grew up watching his mother give haircuts from their home salon. This was only his second time cutting hair, but he's a natural." She says she enjoyed the outdoor salon experience. July 30. Portland, Oregon.
Pandemic or no, indigenous Bolivians celebrate the Mother Earth goddess Pachamama persists in Bolivia. These men and women gave offerings to the goddess in a high-altitude summit in Yungas, a forested ecoregion some 2.8 miles above sea level. August 16. La Paz.
Nicholas Seun Adatsi/@African Photojournalism Database
Despite the threat of COVID-19, a number of guests donned masks for a small wedding ceremony. "There is so much beauty in human resilience," says photographer Nicholas Seun Adatsi. "Like how a flowing river makes its way through or around obstructions, we always find a way to continue forward on our path of life." August 4. Accra, Ghana.
Gordwin Odhiambo/African Photojournalism Database
Valentine Ayuma, a 10-year-old ballet dancer, follows a Facebook Live stream at home. The dance session was organized by Mike Wamaya, founder of the nonprofit Project Elimu. Due to lockdowns when the pandemic began, students in Kenya were trained via streamed recordings. May 22. Kibera, Kenya.
The high priest Wicca Og Sperle prays alone during Lughnasadh, a ritual also known as Lammas or Thalysia Festival, at the Temenos Aetòs Thesmophoros temple. Wicca rituals are usually enacted with all 13 members of a coven. Since the pandemic began, the other 12 have prayed in their own homes. August 13. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Nelly Ating/African Photojournalism Database
At the Celestial Church of Christ, church leaders guide a member to a handwashing station. When churches reopened earlier this year as Nigeria entered a new phase in its lockdown, they were instructed to provide worshippers with hand sanitizers and to ensure face masks are worn — even during services. August 9. Lagos, Nigeria.
Paramedic Mohamed Suhail Sobhev at afternoon prayer. Earlier, at the scene of an accident where a man died, he told the photographer, "It is always difficult to work during Ramadan, when energy is low [from fasting]. "But now there is the additional stress of the virus." But, he says, "This is my job. If we don't come out and help, who will?" May 9. Johannesburg, South Africa.