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Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

Kathy Lilje • Mar 12, 2014 at 12:10 PM

St. Patrick’s Day is just over the horizon.


Green beer will flow, homes across the country will smell of corned beef and cabbage with a side of boiled potatoes, there will be shamrocks, shilelaghs and leprechauns showing up everywhere.

March 17 is the day the Irish commemorate their patron saint and all things Irish.

Faith and begorrah, who will celebrate on this festive day? Only the Irish. But on that day each year, everyone is Irish. Some by blood and many just by spirit.

Family lore has it that my maternal great-grandmother was born on a ship coming to America from Ireland, so I guess I have a legitimate claim to the wearin’ of the green. But then so does everyone else, it seems.

Next Monday, we’ll see African-American Patricks, Asian Colleens, Mexican Brigids and even a Mideastern Seamus or two. Even your dog will be pretending he’s an Irish Setter or Wolfhound. So regardless of your actual bloodlines, get ready for the lowest stress holiday of the year. Pour yourself an Irish coffee, tune up “Danny Boy” on your musical conveyor of choice and party like a Gallic gadabout.

In two short months, we can change our heritage again and everyone can be Mexican on Cinco de Mayo. The music changes, the featured foods are different, pinatas and bright colors replace shamrock and green, but the spirit of the holiday is the same. It’s just people celebrating their roots and the years of traditions that form their cultures. And they are doing it so well, that everyone wants to celebrate with them.

With nearly 200 countries in the world and with the United States being home to people whose roots are in every one of them, we could branch out and have a party about 2/3 of the year.

Consider the Holi Festival of India when Hindus and Sikh celebrate by throwing colored powder on each other. Looks like fun.

In Taiwan, people write their wishes on fire lanterns and release them into the sky en masse, creating a spectacle of floating lights.

The Festival of the Sun on June 24 in Peru features street fairs, live music and traditional food purveyors.

Grenada’s independence day celebration is the Spice Mas Carnival with Calypso music, a steel band competition, elaborate costumes and free-flowing drink and food.

Let’s not forget the German contribution to fun, Oktoberfest. Celebrate Bavarian culture.

The way I see it. If we opened our minds to celebrating every nation and its people, we could party about 240 days a year and rest up the other 125 days. Sounds like a plan — or at least a cool fantasy.

See you nest week.

Be kind to everyone.

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