Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Why is it every St. Patrick's Day, all the "in-the-know" psuedo news sites feel the need to "reluctantly" tell us all the non-Irish things we do to celebrate? Yes, St. Paddy's Day is an American fabrication but it was also a way for Irish Immigrants forced from their homes to celebrate their link to their heritage. It has also become a symbol of the change in status for the poor Irish immigrants who when first they reached the American shores were far from welcome. Now, on this one day, everyone is Irish. I long for a time when we have a "St. Patrick's Day" for every immigrant, celebrating the growth and love we have for the vibrant immigrant population who not only founded this country but who continue to pursue that ever elusive American Dream. What a wonderful future if for a day we were all Irish, then Polish, Australian, German, Cuban, Rowandan, Russian, Guanaian, Chilean, Mexican, French, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Costa Rican, Brazilian... Instead of fighting to keep others out, we celebrated our inclusion in their new lives.

It's true, much of what we celebrate in America today is purely an Irish-American fabrication but how wonderful that we've kept our love, link and pride in the home country so much so that for one day, we want to welcome everyone to be a part of it. How wonderfully American!

I am a dyed in the wool, third generation proud Irish immigrant. I've been blessed to return to Ireland several times and each time I felt like I'd come home. The people of Ireland welcomed me as though we'd never left and asked about people in America, as if they lived next door. This is what I celebrate.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I'll be wearing my green, drinking my Guiness and making my soda bread with pride.

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