My feelings about St. Patrick’s day have gone up and down a lot over the years. When I was in kindergarten and early elementary school , it was fun because we got to watch a cartoon movie about St. Patrick and eat green sugar cookies, and when I got home, my mom had a cake ready for desert. Later on, in Catholic middle school, I had my first encounter with a few stubborn and ignorant people. “St. Patrick was Italian, you know,” I said (which was true). Then they cried, “No he wasn’t! He was Irish!” “No,” I countered, “He was sent to the Irish to convert them to Christianity. He wasn’t Irish himself.” “No that can’t be right!” they responded, frantically. “He has to be Irish! It’s our Irish holiday!”
I think that was how it started. Yep. I’ve never been very patient with people who insist on continuing in ignorance. That encounter really made me hate St. Patrick’s day. There are many Irish-Americans who are proud of their heritage and do their best to continue their Irish traditions throughout the year. I respect those people. On the other hand, there are many so-called “Irish-Americans” who ignore all semblance of Irish heritage except on March 17, when they dress up in green and drink as much green beer and whiskey as possible in 24 hours. That is despicable. (The same goes for people of any ethnicity in America. Love your heritage every day and that’s fine. Use it once a year to make a fool of yourself and your people, and I can’t stand you.)
The fights continued into college. “Corned beef and cabbage aren’t Irish, they’re Polish. The Irish in America at it because it was all they could afford. That’s why they remember it on St. Patrick’s day.” –Another true fact that the once-a-year-Irish like to ignore.
Couple these fights with green-wearing drunk people throwing up in my classes on St. Patrick’s day, and it’s easy to see why anyone could learn to hate that day.
It wasn’t until I met a particular Irish friend of mine that I began to love St. Patrick’s day. This girl’s half Irish and half Italian, and she loves both her blood-lines. She’s Irish-American everyday, and proud of it. One year she invited me to her St. Patrick’s Day party, and I have to say that I look forward to that holiday now more than I ever thought I could. It’s not a beer-fest. It’s an Irish fest. Banoffee pie, salt and vinegar chips, cheddar and Dubliner cheese, soda bread, and Guinness, of course. She converted me. I’m hooked. I will now be celebrating St. Patrick’s day from now on.