Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

 St. Patrick's Day This and That

Irish dancers in St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, D. C.

I usually don't do a lot to observe St. Patrick's Day except wear green--a habit that started in elementary school days to avoid being pinched. If you didn't wear green, you were fair game. I wondered how that crazy tradition got started and found out that, most likely, it was started by Irish immigrants in this country a couple hundred years ago. Supposedly, wearing green made you invisible to mischievous leprechauns who would pinch you if they could see you. A pinch from someone reminded you to be aware that a leprechaun could sneak up on you at any time.

However, it wasn't until last year that I learned about wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day. Apparently, you wear green if you are Catholic and orange if you are Protestant. A friend, whose mother is Irish, said that she was always insistent that they wear orange instead of green on St. Patrick's Day. I think that detail was lost on most of us in this country or at least me.

Shamrocks (white clover)
I learned another new thing this St. Patrick's Day--what a shamrock is. Sarah, my special buddy, gave me a shamrock plant for St. Patrick's Day. It was in a green pot from a store and labeled as a shamrock. However, it looked just like white clover to me and was not at all like my image of a shamrock. But I was surprised when I looked into it. While there is disagreement among the Irish about which variety of clover is a shamrock, it is a clover plant. Yellow clover is what most agreed on with white clover coming in second. I have a white clover plant. I'm not sure if I'm going to let it join the rest of the clover in my yard or bring it inside. I may make it a house plant.

St. Paddy's day in New Orleans ( Photo source)
And while I usually don't do a lot on St. Patrick's Day (not green beer drinker or corned beef eater), I have been to a few parades. This was especially a big event when we lived in New Orleans. The fun part about a St. Patrick's Day parade there was they threw vegetables from the floats to make an Irish stew. That means that along with the beads, they threw cabbages, carrots, potatoes and onions. We usually took them home and did just that--made a stew.

We've been to one parade here and while it was enjoyable, it didn't quite live up to the vegetable throwing in New Orleans.

I've been thinking about St. Patrick's Day more than normal this year because I found out I'm half Irish--DNA speaking that is. As a curiosity, I had my DNA tested by Ancestry. com and found out that I am 48% Irish. I knew that there was some Irish background, but didn't realize how much. That may be because it was only recently, through the same avenues, I got a new grandfather. Meaning birth certificates don't always represent what's really going on. It's a long story.

So as I go and figure out what green thing I'm going to wear to work, I hope you have a Happy St. Patrick's Day however big or small you chose to celebrate it.