BEIRUT — In Lebanon, Christians marked Good Friday with subdued liturgies in near empty churches and heavy rain as they geared up for a second Easter in a row under strict lockdown.
The government is imposing a three-day curfew starting Saturday until Tuesday, to discourage family get-togethers over the Easter holiday.
Churches can open at up to 30 percent capacity during the Easter weekend lockdown, with residents needing permits to visit them, similar to trips to the supermarkets and pharmacies.
Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East — about a third of its 5 million people, with Maronite Catholics the largest sect.
The traditional Easter sweet delicacies cookies have become a luxury few can afford this year.
“This is the first feast were poverty is on the rise and people are not even talking about the feast,” says Majida Al Asaily, owner of a sweets shop in Beirut. “We haven’t witnessed anything like this year, despite the war and other difficulties that we had faced before.”