Green during COVID-19: How to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day safely

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“Shamrock cookies!” by ronnie44052 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Rachel Erwin, deputy lifestyle editor

For the second year in a row, it looks as though COVID-19 is throwing a wrench in St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Though we cannot celebrate at massive parades and parties, there are still ways to make March 17 festive this year. Here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Make Irish soda bread.

Hungry for something special? Try your hand at making Irish soda bread, a bread made from baking soda rather than yeast. Fill it with whatever you want, but some common choices are raisins, seeds, currants or dried apricots. Here’s a quick and easy recipe. 

2. Grab some decorations. 

Who says you can’t be festive in your apartment or residence hall? Head to Target or Amazon and find some green decor to spice up your living space. You are sure to smile when you walk in your door to see leprechauns, shamrocks and pots of gold surrounding you. 

3. Walk the Irish Heritage Trail

Spend some time outdoors and walk in the shoes of Irish immigrants here in Boston. Explore 20 landmarks from the Back Bay Fens to Faneuil Hall and learn about Irish American history along the way. You can find a self-guided map at the Boston Common Visitor Information Center. 

4. Visit the iconic Emerald Necklace bridges. 

Enjoy emerald-colored lights on a variety of Boston bridges through March 31. Starting at dusk each day, “Lights in the Necklace” is a great way to take advantage of Boston’s urban parks while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Check out the Boylston Street Bridge for an experience close to Northeastern and be sure to snap a picture and share with #NecklaceLights. 

5. Tune into the Irish Film Festival.

Screen new Irish films and documentaries on the Irish Film Institute’s new streaming service. This virtual version of the Irish Film Festival will be available for five days, from March 17 to March 21. The films will release according to a set schedule, much like any in-person film festival. Once you hit play, you have 48 hours to watch the film. 

6. Read about Irish women from Massachusetts. 

In honor of both Women’s History Month and St. Patrick’s Day, learn about these eight Irish women who made history in Massachusetts. Among these women are Rose Kennedy, the woman who taught Helen Keller how to read and write, the teacher killed in the 1986 Challenger launch and the founder of the Special Olympics. 

7. Order takeout from local Irish restaurants.

Support the restaurant business and see what’s on the menu in Boston this St. Patrick’s Day. Some places to try include Emmets Irish Pub and Restaurant, The Black Rose or Ned Devine’s.

8. Plan an at-home beer tasting (if you’re 21+).

Assemble your own beer flight from home, and test out a variety of Irish beers. Other than the classic Guinness, some possibilities include O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Smithwick’s Irish Red or Murphy’s Irish Stout. Harpoon Brewery is offering an at-home St. Patrick’s Day kit that can be shipped or picked up. 

9. Dress in green!

The easiest way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to wear a bunch of green clothes and accessories. Pull out that shamrock shirt you’ve been saving and tie your hair back with a green scrunchie. Pick up some green party beads, and you will be feeling festive in minutes!

This St. Patrick’s Day may seem lackluster, especially for those of us who look forward to Boston’s lively celebrations each year. However, with a little extra effort, the holiday can still be a lucky one!