Over half of my heritage is Irish. My mother, Nori, is 100% Irish. Her family came from a terrible famine hammering Ireland in the late 1880’s. They came from the west. Places like County Kerry & County Mayo. Towns like Castle Island and Tralee. We don’t know their true name, as they adopted an English surname upon arrival in Canada. Eventually, they made it to Chicago.
Sunday, Chicago is going to dump hundreds of gallons of green dye into the Chicago River to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Americans and other Irish wannabe’s around the globe will consume tons of corned beef and cabbage. And I’m certain I’ll try one or two pints of Guinness along with probably over a billion other folks around the globe.
The interesting thing is, this very Irish of days really was no big deal in Ireland until about a decade ago. it was a religious day to honor the death of St. Patrick over 1,000 years ago. Because March 17 falls during the Catholic period of lent, many Irish parishes would waive, just for that one day, the prohibition against meat during lent. After weeks with no meat, the Irish would enjoy this fine day.
But leave it to America to take it up a notch. Dying rivers, milk shakes and eggs green, drinking like crazy, another excuse to go nuts. The rest of the world took a cue from us and now St. Patrick’s Day is no longer a religious day at all. Like St. Valentine, Halloween, Christmas, Labor Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July and any other holiday American retailers can latch onto, it is an excuse to drink, have a sale and party some more. The original meaning of the day is all but lost.
But on this day, St. Patrick’s Day, I say why not! Sláinte! Cheers, as they say in Ireland. Enjoy the luck of the Irish for the day!