THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH, 2020

With the continuation of annual celebratory events, Junior Vishesh Goyal was left with the sinking realization that he wasn’t going to have the kinds of student get-togethers he normally does — the kinds that usually involve food, drink and friends. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, such gatherings are unsafe for the host and the guests. Instead, people are holding responsible celebrations this year on a smaller scale and often excluding friends and non-immediate family members. However, these limited celebrations still have the potential to reinforce family values and strengthen connections in a way no laser tag game followed by pizza ever could.

Goyal said he chose a family-only celebration for his 16th birthday.

“It was a lot smaller scale than my previous birthday, where I invited like 10 friends to sleep over,” Goyal said.

However, he said he was pretty happy about that. He said he went with his family to a nearby park, where they ordered food and relaxed for about an hour, ending the celebration with a cake his sister baked for him.

“I really felt a lot closer to my family, and I can talk to my friends any time from home anyway,” Goyal said. “For now, it’s important that we spent this time together.”

To celebrate his friend’s birthday, junior Matthew Cao took a different approach. Instead of jeopardizing the health and safety of any party-goers, Cao joined a collective Zoom call with friends and family. The friend’s mother went to each house ahead of time to give out birthday hats, so when the time came to celebrate, everyone on the call put on their hats and sang “Happy Birthday.”

“I thought it was a really nice thing to do, and my friend seemed to enjoy it as well,” Cao said. “It’s a good mix between seeing your friends and spending time with family.”

Fremont High School sophomore Chanel Zhang said her family has been brought closer together after celebrating both her birthday and Chinese New Year with only her family.

“I feel closer to my parents than I have over the past few years, just because we’ve been spending so much time together and doing so much stuff together at home,” Zhang said. “Some people say it’s weird, but I don’t mind being closer to my parents for a bit.”

She also said, “Family has to come first; blood is thicker than water.”

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