SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -Savannahians set their calendars by one day every March, except when that day comes on a Sunday.
There will be a party in the streets once again on St. Patrick’s Day: on the streets of Boston.
Here in Savannah, where our parade has as much history as one of the few anywhere larger than it, the celebration follows a different policy: never on Sunday.
“That’s the Lord’s day,” explains James Burke Jr. Burke was the Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1992. "And we can’t do a lot of drinking on Sunday.
Every few years, St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah becomes calendar challenged.
When March 17th falls on a Sunday, as it does this year, the parade, the festival and even St. Patrick’s Day Mass are on held the previous day.
“We follow Chic-fil-A,” jokes Father Gerry Schrek, a pastor at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. “Whatever policies they have, we follow.”
Father Schreck, says there is no religious edict precluding Sunday parades.
“Sunday is also a feast day, so celebrations are good on Sunday.”
There is also no official rule about it and none of the entities involved claims to have initiated the tradition of moving off of Sunday.
“I think it’s mostly an understanding amongst the city and the parade committee and the Catholic community,” explained former Grand Marshal Jimmy Ray. “I can’t really speak for the parade committee, but I applaud their policy and what they do and I think it’s because Sunday is the Sabbath. I can say previous bishops may have actually weighed in on this to say we think it would be better to do it on Saturday rather than Sunday.”
And not only for the congregation that will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the Cathedral on March 16th this year.
“I forget how many churches are downtown, but it would be a fiasco if everyone was trying to go to their church service and there’s 350.000 people in the way,” Ray said. "I think it’s a wise policy and I’m glad we have it.