American St Patrick’s Day celebrations date back at least three hundred years and like so much else that makes this America, we have embraced this Irish festivity in a style that is uniquely ours.
Shamrocks, leprechauns, and a lot of racket (old-country Irish slang for an old fashioned welcome-to-the-neighborhood party) fill our celebrations as we gulp green beer or dye our hair green to match the Chicago River.
But in Ireland today there will be a softer and more subdued festival that often begins with a morning church service. Despite Ireland’s hard drinking reputation, as recently as thirty years ago most pubs were closed on St Paddy's Day in honor of this religious holiday. Even today the pubs are open mainly to serve the tourist trade arriving to celebrate a real Irish St Patrick’s Day.
TWC suffered mightily as a protestant kid who invariably forgot to wear green. But you’ll not find Irish school kids dodging hard pinches from ornery classmates for that infraction because it’s purely an American custom.
And although every year Mrs TWC does the Corned Beef and Cabbage up just right for St Paddy, you'd be hard pressed to find that on any holiday table on the Emerald Isle.
We’re all Irish today—or maybe just a secular Americanized version of what we imagine being Irish to be.
The Wine O’Commonsewer
Full Disclosure: TWC has one third of a bucket of Irish blood but it's the Dutch that makes him hard headed. Pretty sure TWC was Italian in a previous life though.