Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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  St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He died on this day in 461 AD. The people of Ireland typically go to church on St. Patrick’s day and have a nice dinner.

In America, people use this day to celebrate and remember their Irish heritage. Some more exuberantly than others. There are parades, dances, dinners, political roasts, and green beer. I made cupcakes.

I’m not a fan of green beer, corned beef and cabbage, or Michael Flatley and his twisting of traditional dance, nor those weird groups they have on PBS. Ok getting off the soapbox. 

My grandfather was Irish. There was nothing his daughters would enjoy more than needling him into singing McNamara’s Band. My favorite Irish song is the Unicorn song from my childhood about Noah and the Ark and the stubborn unicorns. When I was a kid, my aunt would take me out to the flea markets and yard sales on Saturday mornings and we would listen to the Irish music program “The Irish Hit Parade” that was on the radio.

When I was in grade school we went to an Irish Catholic private school for a few years. Every St. Patrick’s day we would go to church and then have a scavenger type hunt around the school looking for the leprechauns. Nobody ever found any, but at the end was always some soda bread. I do love soda bread. Some of the fellow students would then do a performance of Irish step dancing in beautiful embroidered dresses. P1040211

For our wedding, my aunt who took me out on Saturdays when I was a kid, gave us this small porcelain horseshoe to carry in my bouquet on our wedding day. It was then hung over the main door to our house to bring luck to our marriage as tradition and superstition warrants. The horseshoe is points up to hold the luck. If it was the other way the luck would pour out.

We have visited Ireland and enjoyed it very much and hope to return many times. There aren’t many people of Irish heritage here on the Island, which was a big change from the south shore of Massachusetts where I grew up. There are dinners (corned beef and cabbage :P) and there was a small parade this year which hopefully will catch on. It was only two blocks long. Maybe next year they can shoot for three. 

We live in America, the great melting pot, which I enjoy very much. I am a symbol of that melting pot with many countries and people contributing to my heritage. Today we celebrate the Irish ones and I miss papa singing McNamara’s Band.

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St. Patrick, Dublin Castle

3 comments:

  1. I loved this post! (And agree with you on dying stuff green - it does make me feel a bit all bah humbug!) I'm just about to watch an international rugby match - England are playing Ireland. While I hope England win, I won't mind if Ireland do. So as one melting pot person to another, I shall raise a glass of the "black stuff" to you! Slainte.

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  2. Living in Massachusetts and near to Boston St Patrick's Day is celebrated by everyone. I am however, staying in tonight and cooking my own corned beef.

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  3. Oh, man! Now MacNamara's Band is stuck in my head! I always loved the Wild Rover, and the Unicorn with all the hand movements.

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