‘It’s a little tough,’ but many will still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: Hudson’s Irishman of the Year

Parade participants at Chateauguay's St. Patrick's Day parade in 2018. Global News

St. Patrick’s Day 2020 is being marked in Montreal and around the world without the usual drinking, parades or pomp and circumstance as the novel coronavirus outbreak has closed bars across most of North America and forced the postponement of the two major St. Patrick’s Day parades in Quebec.

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Hudson’s Irishman of the Year, Ken Doran, has been involved with St. Patrick’s festivities in Hudson for nearly a decade and the Montreal edition of the parade for many more years. He told Global News Morning that the situation facing Greater Montreal’s Irish community this year is unprecedented.

“It’s a little tough,” he said in an interview Tuesday morning.

“We have to protect ourselves, we have to be safe … and I think it’ll be an anomaly,” he added, noting that St. Patrick’s Day festivities have been held without interruption in Quebec for two centuries.

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“For the United Irish Societies to postpone the Montreal parade, that’s a huge decision,” he said — one that couldn’t have been taken lightly.

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On Saturday, Doran said: “I might walk down the parade route myself, just to say I did.”

For now, the parades in both downtown Montreal and Hudson are not actually cancelled but, rather, postponed. Doran said the Irish community’s plan remains to put those parades on at a later date “if we can pull it off this year.”

But he added that if current provincial and federal guidelines against large gatherings are extended into the summer, it is likely organizers will deem it too late to hold a rescheduled edition of the parade in 2020.

“It might happen,” he said of a St. Patrick’s Day parade in June or July. “But St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of spring.”

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Though St. Patrick’s Day 2020 has turned out quite differently than festivities of years past, Doran said celebrations will continue.

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“Everyone’s a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” he said. “We’re all welcome to be — we might just be a little further away from each other.”

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