The first day of spring this year is March 20th. Since prehistoric times, people celebrated the beginning of spring with rites, rituals and folk traditions, like Free Cone Day at Dairy Queen. Or that maypole thing in Midsommer. Whichever you prefer.

This year, you're stuck painting caves or sacrificing pigs, because Free Cone Day is not happening. Here's the announcement on Dairy Queen's website:

As spring approaches, we all look forward to Free Cone Day, an event that attracts long lines at our restaurants. Given the state of COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event with your safety and the safety of our crew members in mind. We look forward to bringing back Free Cone Day in 2022 and celebrating our fans in a sweet way. From all of us at DQ®, thank you for understanding.

Sure, it would be an utter pain to manage social distancing at a popular event like this one, but it's still a bummer. If it makes you feel any better, it's possible March 20th won't even be a nice spring day, as Lubbock usually has its last freeze a whole month later.

Dairy Queen isn't acting alone. IHOP also canceled Free Pancake Day, citing COVID-19 concerns.

A free cone or a free short stack might not seem like much, but it's those little joys that aggregate into a general feeling of happiness. We need more little injections of joy, and we need the ability to gather and socialize with each other. Do your part towards getting past this by washing your hands, wearing your mask and getting your vaccine. We are all in this together.

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