How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during a Global Pandemic

What Is a Shamrock and How Did it Become Ireland’s National Symbol?

It was exactly one year ago on this date that Governor Kim Reynolds put Iowa on a lockdown. It has been a crazy, weird year and unfortunately the restrictions are still with us even with the new vaccine being out and being given as quickly as they can get to people. Even with the Des Moines St. Patrick’s day parade being cancelled you can still celebrate this holiday even if it does mean less fighty-drunk strangers and more being in your own home to do so.

  1. Eat as the Irish Do– With travel restrictions keeping Americans from going overseas, bring Ireland to your home and eat the same foods you’d have if you were able to go there. Google recipes for Irish Stew or Bangers and Mash and have that as a special meal alongside soda bread and a pint of Guinness. Try something new like Boxty or black and white pudding.
  2. Watch Irish Movies– Netflix, Hulu and any of the other streaming companies will have a variety of movies starring Irish actors/actresses and/or are based in Ireland. Learn more about Irish history with the movie Michael Collins or if you’re wanting something more romantic watch The Quiet Man or Leap Year. Once is a great movie and the broadway show came to Des Moines a few years ago.
  3. Find a virtual parade to watch– Even though Covid cancelled the parade in Des Moines that doesn’t mean other places aren’t still having theirs and a lot of them are offering their parade virtually for those who can’t make it in person and also as a Covid- precaution. You can get a peek of how other cities celebrate St. Patrick’s day and you can still get the parade experience even if it’s thousands of miles away from where it’s being held.
  4. Make St. Patrick’s Day cards for those who typically are forgotten– Have your family team up and make cards for those who are usually forgotten for most of the year like those in nursing homes or the homeless. Include a treat you baked or bought at the store if you’re wanting to step it up. This isn’t a typical holiday to think of others but that shouldn’t stop you from making someone else’s day special with something as simple as a homemade card.
  5. Cue up Irish music and read Irish authors– Spotify offers a ton of choices for Irish music and there’s plenty of Irish authors out there to find a book that will interest you. Immerse yourself in the Irish culture to really make this day about Ireland. Read about their history and what life is like there both in the past and present. Listen to their music and see how it can easily be seen in today’s popular music.
  6. Have an Irish Coffee– It’s kind of a cliche to say you’re going to have an Irish coffee but if there’s a day to have one this would be it. This recipe has just four easy to find ingredients and is easy enough for even a novice chef. This would make a great addition to all of that Irish food you’re going to eat especially if you don’t want to drink beer all day.
  7. Look for 4-leaf clovers– Get outside and socially distance look for 4-leaf clovers to bring you luck. They may be hard to find in Iowa but at least you and your family are getting outside doing something active. Even if you don’t find any 4-leaf clovers or any clovers at all, you’ll get to be in the fresh air and doing something together.
  8. Plan an Irish Trip– Don’t let the fact you can’t go to Ireland this year or at least not yet get you down. Plan the trip for the future whether it’s a year from now or when you’re in your 60’s. Plan all of the things you want to do and get your whole vacation planned out. It’s well worth actually going to Ireland but even if you don’t really want to go, planning a vacation by itself has been shown to make people more optimistic and hopeful for the future.

Even though Covid is still throwing a wrench in our plans to celebrate holidays like St. Patrick’s, don’t let the fact that we’re still in this pandemic keep you from finding joy in doing something special today. We will get through this just like we did a year ago when it first started. We just have to be like the Irish and tough it out when times are hard.

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