In 2020 March 17 will be like an empty glass of Guinness as your pub closes for the indefinite future. Celebrations of Saint Patrick are placed in abeyance because of a virulent interloper which did not respect old traditions.
This is not meant to make light of the serious COVID-19 virus. It is as serious as any hostile enemy can be.
COVID-19 has made its doleful intrusions into the many avenues of human enjoyment and interaction. Cancellation and COVID-19 are synonymous.
Unfortunately, many precious lives, especially of our elders, have been cruelly taken from us. Like any horrendous disease misery accompanies the unwelcomed specter.
March 17 will come and go in 2020. This is true of COVID-19; we hope never to see this visitor again on a global scale.
One can always celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in your place of residence. A parade is nice, but remembering the Patron Saint is an individual act.
Many sapient sayings are attributed to Saint Patrick. If he were alive today and facing COVID-19, perhaps he would say
“May the strength of God pilot us, may the wisdom of God instruct us, may the hand of God protect us, may the word of God direct us. Be always ours this day and for evermore.”
As you face the daily challenges of living on this planet traversing the cosmos, may you deal with unwelcome visitors which come to you and your neighbors. Together is better than alone in dealing with issues and problems, especially the unseen agents of disease and death from the miasma of shadowy microbes.
G. D. Williams © 2020
John Hopkins University & Medicine COVID-19
World Health Organization
photo of the empty glass of Guinness
Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Ireland but in America. Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The parade, and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a year earlier were organized by the Spanish Colony’s Irish vicar Ricardo Artur.
More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in New York City on March 17, 1772 to honor the Irish patron saint. Enthusiasm for the St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City, Boston and other early American cities only grew from there.
“Due to the unique nature and scale of the St Patrick’s Day festivities, in terms of size, the mass gathering of local and international travelers, and the continued progression of community transmission in some European countries, along with the emergence of a small number of cases of local transmission in Ireland, the Government has decided that St Patrick’s Day parades, including the Dublin parade, will not proceed,” the Irish government said in a statement, according to CNN.
“It’s like canceling Christmas on us,” one bar owner says as New York City joins Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia in canceling their St. Patrick’s Day parades
The parade, which has never been cancelled in its 258-year history, typically draws approximately 250,000 marchers and 1 to 2 million spectators to Manhattan, according to the governor’s office. “While the risk to New Yorkers remains low and we want to avoid social and economic disruptions, we have an obligation to take action to contain the spread of this virus,” Cuomo said in a press statement on Wednesday.
New York City now joins Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit on the list of major cities that have called off festivities in light of the spread of COVID-19, according to the Daily News. As of Thursday afternoon, New York City had 95 cases, while New York state had 325, many of them in Long Island’s Nassau County and Westchester’s New Rochelle, according to a tweet from Cuomo.
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