I recently discovered after taking an Ancestry DNA test that I am part Irish. According to the latest update, I am about 4% Irish. In fact, I have a great-great-great grandmother who was Irish American, her parents having immigrated to the United States, presumably to escape the Great Potato Famine of Ireland. Since learning this about myself, I have become even more interested in learning about this part of my ancestry. Even though I think that St Patrick’s Day has become overly commercialized, same with any other holiday, and treated as a day (at least in America) to wear green and attend parades. I think what is most important is learning about the culture and background of this holiday, which is more than just having fun at the parades. So, since discovering that I am part Irish, let me share with you how I will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
I’m Part Irish — And This Is How I Will Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
But first, a brief history…
I am no historian and therefore not an expert on Irish folklore and traditions. But I wanted to do a little bit of research on this holiday. In my research, I learned that the namesake of the holiday — St. Patrick — was a saint who had lived in Ireland a long time ago. To be exact, St. Patrick had lived in Ireland in the 5th century. He was originally from Britain but was brought to Ireland as a slave. He eventually escaped, was reunited with his family, but then returned to Ireland. He was apparently called upon the Irish in a moment of faith and religious zeal. Since then, he travelled the countryside, bringing the teachings of Christianity to people. He is said to have driven snakes to the sea and even have brought people from the dead. He has also used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity by noting the three leaves on the plant.
How I Will Honor St. Patrick’s Day
Clearly, St. Patrick’s Day is an important day especially for the Irish, and even those of Irish ancestry. Even those who are not of the Christian faith still honor and respect the day to affirm their Irish ancestry, celebrating a man who brought light and hope to the people of Ireland. So, on St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on March 17th this year, these are some of the ways that I can honor the patron saint of Ireland, as well as celebrate my own Irish heritage.
On St. Patrick’s Day, it is tradition to wear green. But did you know that this custom came about because of the belief that wearing green can make you invisible to leprechauns? By being invisible to leprechauns, you can thus avoid getting pinched.
WEAR A SHAMROCK
In addition to wearing green, you can wear a shamrock, which is a three-leaved clover. The three leaves on this national flower of Ireland is said to symbolize hope, love, and faith, in addition to the Holy Trinity.
ATTEND A ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
In many parts of the United States, there is a St. Patrick’s Day that you can attend. By attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade, you can see a celebration of Irish culture. You can see people doning the traditional Irish clothing, playing the national instrument (the harp), and displaying the national dance. Of course, due to the Coronavirus, it may not be possible to attend the parade this year. If you can’t, or would rather not, you can attend the event virtually. There are several virtual parades being hosted this week, including this one.
EAT CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
It is tradition to eat corned beef and cabbage in America on St. Patrick’s Day; however, it is not something you may find the Irish eating in Ireland. It is a tradition for Irish Americans, because corned beef and cabbage was what the Irish Americans could afford when they first immigrated to this country. Here is one slow cooker recipe that you can use to make this quaint American Irish meal.
BAKE IRISH SODA BREAD
After eating the traditionally Irish American corned beef and cabbage, then you can top it off with some Irish soda bread. Here is a recipe for an easy Irish soda bread. This particular bread was born in the 1800s during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland, when poverty spread across the country. The ingredients to make this bread was things that were pretty affordable. How the bread is cut depends on which part of Ireland you reside. If you live in the Northern parts of Ireland, you may cut the bread into triangular shapes. If you live in the south, then you may cut a cross on the bread. Unlike the corned beef and cabbage, this tradition is very popular in Ireland.
LISTEN TO IRISH MUSIC
Music and dancing are pretty important components to Irish culture. Therefore, here is a list of the 28 best Irish songs that you can listen to on St. Patrick’s Day. You can also learn the infamous Irish stepdance.
WATCH IRISH MOVIES
You can finish up the day by watching Irish movies. Here is a list of some Irish movies that you can watch on this day.