St. Patrick’s Day Pandemic Style

by Sienna Lapointe

Graphic By Alma Snortum-Phelps

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will undoubtedly look different this year. St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday celebrated on March 17. Marking his death, the Catholic Church has a day of feasting dedicated to St. Patrick. While it is not a holy day of obligation in America, it is in Ireland. 

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland and America differ. In Ireland, people participate in parades, have céilís or parties, wear green attire such as shamrocks, attend church and drink Irish whiskey and beer. However, in America, celebrations aren’t always as grand. Some Americans celebrate by eating Irish meals, drinking Irish beer, wearing green clothing and attending parades. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put a wrench in these traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. 

Two Irish-Americans expressed their meaning of St. Patrick’s Day and what their celebrations will look like this year. Ellen McCarty, the owner of Walnut Creek Yacht Club, said, “I would have celebrated with our guests at Walnut Creek Yacht Club all day and then had family and maybe friends over for corned beef and cabbage. This year I will just be quietly enjoying dinner with only my husband, at home.” Megan Kavanagh, a 15-year-old high school student, has similar plans. “We would usually eat potatoes and our dad would have corned beef. We also celebrated at school, where I would occasionally do an Irish dance. This year we will still be celebrating, but just at home.” 

Both McCarty and Kavanagh have their own personal meanings of St. Patrick’s Day.  “It’s a celebration of all things Irish,” said McCarty. For Kavanagh, the holiday reminds her of Ireland’s history: “It reminds me of the Irish War of Independence, which was fought because the British people occupied Ireland and outlawed the practice of Catholicism, so the Irish people fought back and won their religious independence.”A major part of St. Patrick’s Day is the local parade. Unfortunately, parades didn’t take place this year due to the pandemic. However, there were many virtual events instead. Alameda had a virtual event called “St. Paddy’s Day Party with Fireside Lounge,” which included Irish dancing and music. On March 16, there was a virtual St. Patrick’s Day cooking for kids event on Zoom in Danville. Although the celebrations may be different, the value of the holiday is not diminished to those who celebrate it.