Photo Essay: Faithful mourn, carry on amid pandemic

A mortuary worker prepares the coffin carrying the body of a person who died of COVID-19 before being cremated during a funeral at Mémora mortuary in Girona, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Relief may be on the way in the form of mass-produced vaccines, but COVID-19 continues to ravage communities around the world with the global death toll reaching some 1.5 million, leaving the living to mourn them and carry on. 

At a Spanish mortuary, three red roses and a wooden cross graced the plain coffin of a person killed by the coronavirus before it was taken for cremation. 

Mourners pray over the body of a person who died from COVID-19 at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

On the outskirts of the Iranian capital, Tehran, masked mourners prayed over the body of another victim as they stood beneath the swooping arches of a cemetery that's struggling to keep up with the pandemic. 

And in Montenegro, the body of Bishop Amfilohije of the Serbian Orthodox Church lay in an open-casket mass funeral in the capital's ornate main temple after he contracted the virus and died. 

Francis Garcia, left, leads her sisters Anna Garcia, center, and Olga Garcia in prayer at an afternoon family meal Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in the family home in Sedro-Woolley, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Even as the dead are honored, the celebration of rites, rituals and traditions often emphasizes protecting the living through social distancing. 

In Sedro-Wooley, Washington, the Garcia sisters eschewed their usual Thanksgiving feast attended by dozens, instead delivering food to relatives spread along 30 miles of the North Cascades Highway for them to dine separately in their own homes while joining a group phone call. 

A man in trance dances during a Candomble religious ceremony at the Ile Ase Yoba temple in Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

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Hindu women attend a ceremony to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, at Swami Narayan temple in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A man wearing a thorn crown and a mask for protection against COVID-19 holds a wooden cross at a religious service in Ion Corvin, Romania, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

 From religious services in honor of St. Andrew in the Romanian village of Ion Corvin; to an Indian woman who prayed over a grave on All Souls' Day in Kolkata; to Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who lit candles to ask for peace; many wore face coverings to try to prevent the virus' spread. 

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

An Indian Christian woman wearing a face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus prays beside the grave of a deceased relative during All Souls Day in Kolkata, India, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

Masks were also the rule at an interfaith gathering near New York's Washington Square Park, as Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and Christians sang and prayed in a show of post-election solidarity; they were less common at protests by supporters of President Donald Trump, such as one outside the Michigan State Capitol where a woman held a large crucifix aloft while praying with fellow demonstrators. 

Shira Kline, a director of worship for Lab/Shul, leads a group in song during an interfaith gathering outside of the Judson Memorial Church in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.(AP Photo/Emily Leshner)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather for a protest against the construction of a hotel at a site that protesters claim contains ancient graves, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

These and more are among the AP's top faith-related images from November.

Village women, one holding a placard of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, in Painganadu, a village in Tamil Nadu state, India, near the hometown of Harris' grandfather, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)