Today, as I’m sure all of the cheesy green plastic shamrocks and drunk joke posts on Facebook have shown you, is Saint Patrick’s Day. Tonight, in a basement-turned-well-furnished pub in a small town in middle Tennessee, my parents will host their semi-annual St. Patrick’s Day fete. Dear, old friends and new faces alike from all across the state and from states beyond will gather and enjoy good stories, food, and my dad’s homebrew. However, one thing will be missing this year: me. Sadly, my change of schools changed the timing of my spring break as well, and I was unable to attend. This is something that is actually upsetting me much more than I thought it would. I do not celebrate this holiday very enthusiastically as I am no longer Catholic and I feel that America has bastardized the holiday to the point of complete embarrassment. We, like many families in the South, are Irish-American (among other things since we’ve been over for a long time), and my parents always tried to make sure we celebrated that heritage in an appropriate way, one that never involved a perpetuation of stereotypes but did celebrate one of the cultures from which we came. I’m proud of that, and it is for that that I always loved helping my parents prepare and host our gatherings. To me, they are the be all and end all of St. Patrick’s celebrations, and anything else is nothing in which I would like to participate. I plan not to join my friends who are all going out to local bars and clubs to celebrate tonight, and I will instead make a quiet evening of it, and perhaps make a live appearance in the basement of my childhood via skype. It is will a heavy heart that I wish all of those loved ones gathering tonight a lovely, warm evening filled with fun and laughter. I’m missing you all.
NPR posted this wonderful interview today with Frank Delaney who shared a poem titled “Drowning the Shamrock” calling the holiday as he sees it here in the States. I must say, since I am already sick of seeing the slew of negative stereotypes reinforced across Facebook as I make my morning perusal, I completely agree with him. You can listen to him read it here.