A Brief History
On March 17, 2020, the United States of America and Ireland both have cancelled virtually all St. Patrick’s Day festivities, absolutely destroying one of the jolliest holidays in either country. For this disappointment, we have to thank the coronavirus, or more correctly COVID-19, the mysterious flu like illness believed to have originated in Wuhan, China only a few months earlier.
While the world has experienced many pandemics throughout history, the last several decades have been marred by only a few breakouts of illness that garnered a lot of attention, including the AIDS/HIV pandemic, the Swine Flu/H1N1 pandemic and the smaller outbreaks of Ebola and SARS. In none of those cases was life disrupted as we have experienced in 2020! (Meaning, we never had to cancel our annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade!)
Within the past few days, the situation across the world and in the United States has changed rapidly. All across the US colleges and other institutes of higher learning announced the switch to only online classes, with no in person classes being taught. Then local school districts and state governors started announcing “extended spring break” or the suspension of classes. Even worse, professional sports leagues suspended their seasons, or announced a suspension of training seasons. College sports had to bite their lip and bitterly announce the end of current athletic seasons, recruiting drives, and even March Madness! Individual athletes and teams that had high hopes of winning a state or national championship have seen their dreams shattered. Governors started announcing the closing of all restaurants and bars, and limiting gatherings of people to various numbers depending on location, such as 100 or 500 persons. Wedding plans, graduation parties and commencement activities, funerals and even church services have been disrupted. Movie theaters are empty or closed. Broadway has been shut down. Grocery store shelves are being quickly stripped of all food and goods. The Stock Market is in total disarray. Disney and other amusement parks are closed. OMG!!!
Still, in spite of all the terrible things about coronavirus, including the sad fact that many (probably millions) of people will suffer, including Americans, and perhaps as many as 10 million or more may die across the globe (hundreds of thousands or as many as over a million in the US alone), we face the REAL PROBLEM, how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!
Some suggestions for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the days of coronavirus:
-Stay home and drink Irish beer. Then have another.
-Stock up on your own stash of corned beef and cabbage, fixing for Reuben sandwiches or whatever you deem to be “Irish” food and have a feast with yourself or your family.
-Go to YouTube or one of the television streaming services (such as Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu) and watch Irish appropriate singing, dancing, and movies. (May we suggest the Celtic Woman singers or the 1999 film, The Boondock Saints?) Feel free to down a cold one while watching, maybe with a nip of Bushmill’s as well. Or Teeling, or Sexton, or Tullamore Dew, your choice.) Make sure you have your Baileys for Irish Coffee.
-Along with whomever is marooned in your home with you, after lubricating your vocal cords, sing your heart out about the “Unicorn.” If you realize songs such as “When Irish Eyes are Shining” and “Too-La-Roo-La-Roo-La” are just not festive enough, then you are smart enough to know all the words to “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” a particularly great song to sing (LOUD) with your family or buds on St. Patrick’s Day.
-If you wanted to go to church and are afraid to get or give coronavirus to fellow worshippers, instead stay home and give thanks that you were smart enough to stock up on toilet paper before stores all ran out! (And that you have an adequate supply of Harp’s…)
-Before all the grocery stores are closed and a total curfew is in effect, get to the store and stock up on green food coloring. Then dye your beer and make some green cookies and other “Irishy” green stuff. Likewise, hurry up and get all the appropriate decorations and funny hats to keep your home festive, since you cannot count on your local publican to decorate for you. Green condoms are permitted for this special day only…
-Be absolutely certain to read History and Headlines for ANY Irish or St. Patrick’s related articles, notably “Who Was St. Patrick?”
Just be sure you wash your hands for 20 seconds and do not touch your face.
Question for students (and subscribers): How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Freeman, Phillip. St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography. Simon & Schuster, 2005.
Rey, HA. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Curious George tabbed board book. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Erik Drost of St. Patrick’s Day in Cleveland, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. This image was originally posted to Flickr by EDrost88 at https://flickr.com/photos/62091376@N03/47386184812. It was reviewed on by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.