st. patrick's day

Further explanation for St Pat’s…because someone asked.

If you celebrate today by wearing green or havin’ a pint or such, that’s okay. What’s important is that you know from whence the traditions come, you have a healthy respect for Irish heritage, and your celebratory activities don’t play on cruel stereotypes.

Heck, last year, I got together with a bunch of Irish-descended friends and had a heritage blast. We made Irish foods like corned beef & cabbage, colcannon, shortbread, and suchlike, and then we all sat down and watched Boondock Saints. Most of us wore green, and we got rip-roaring drunk over the course of the evening. (Then again, that’s most of our parties…anyway.)

It’s all about knowing where stuff comes from. Traditions like the wearing of the green are an important part of Irish heritage, and you need see it as such, and not just as popular shtick. Same goes for a lot of other Irish-related stuff today.

It’s about celebrating the culture while not reinforcing negative stereotypes, and it’s not hard.

Just…don’t pretend you’re “Irish for the day” if you’re not already. Don’t pinch people who didn’t wear green. Don’t put on a fake accent or dress like a leprechaun. Don’t make derogatory jokes. Don’t make a mockery of Ireland or it’s people or their culture.

You wouldn’t want someone making fun of your home country. So don’t do it to someone else’s.

And for Irish-Americans (and those who wish they were), today’s a GREAT day to learn about Irish heritage. Ask your family members for stories. Look up surnames online to see where they’re from. Read up on Irish and American-Irish history. Read some Irish folktales. Pop in some tunes by an Irish band.

And let’s all raise a glass to better days. May the roofs over our heads never fall in and may the friends beneath them never fall out. :)

  • Kara: *sneaks up behind Lena and pinches her*
  • Lena: Kara! What the hell?
  • Kara: It's St Patricks day and you aren't wearing green.
  • Lena: I don't have to wear green. I have green eyes. I could walk around naked all day and still be safe.
  • Lena: ...
  • Lena: Kara give me back my clothes.

Is everyone wearing green today? Nature’s light show displays a fantastic emerald ripple above Denali National Park in Alaska, a great place to see the Northern Lights. Says photographer Carl Johnson, “Having great aurora borealis images to show for a night out in the cold cannot truly capture the thrill of just being out there and witnessing this amazing phenomenon.” Photo courtesy of Carl Johnson. #StPatricksDay

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from this green moray eel in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary! 

Green moray eels are actually brownish, but they don green in celebration of holidays – or, rather, to protect themselves from parasites and disease. That is, these eels secrete a yellowish mucus that covers their skin, giving them a greenish tinge. 

(Photo: Steve Miller)