Thursday, March 17, 2005

So you'd like to be authentic on St. Patrick's Day?

As it's Saint Patrick's Day, I thought I'd list some facts:

1. Native Irish people do not eat Corned Beef and Cabbage. Corned Beef is a putrid, fat addled meat and comes packed in a can in Ireland (was actually once a staple of British Army rations), very few people eat it, and it is not to be confused with what the American-Irish call Corned Beef--which in itself is equally as unappetizing as far as I'm concerned. On Saint Patrick's Day, Irish people eat whatever meal is on the menu for supper that night.

2. No town or city in the North or South of Ireland dyes its river green.

3. The Native Irish do not dye their beer green or eat green cake or butter cookies baked in the shapes of shamrocks and sprinkled with vivid green sugar.

3. Irish Protestants go about their daily business because the day is a normal workday for them. Irish Catholics--those that practice their faith that is--will attend mass if they are available to do so because it is a Holy Day of obligation. Those who don't will go off to work.

4.Irish Protestant children will go off to school, whereas Catholic schoolkids will have the day off. (I believe the Protestant schools do have a day off in lieu--in Northern Ireland, it's July 12th, but I don't know about the Republic.)

5. There are no massive public street parades, no marching bands, no dancers. Dublin does have a parade, though it is so minor in the scheme of things, the prime minister of Ireland (the republic, that is) usually comes over to the States to celebrate the day here.

6. Native Irish people do not exchange St. Patrick's Day cards. They simply do not exist because there is no demand for such expensive silliness.

7. In Ireland, the people do not wear green on Saint Patrick's Day--unless by coincidence--nor do they wear crazy green hats. (Green is in fact considered an unlucky color in Ireland--there are not too many green cars and the authentic color of Irish Aran sweaters is off-white.) Some native Irish do wear a tidy bunch of shamrocks on their lapels. However, at the end of the day, they do not eat them as the Welsh eat the daffodils they sport on their lapels on Saint David's Day. (In fact, I did not realize daffodils were edible until I attended Cardiff University and saw my fellow Welsh students tucking into theirs.)

Enjoy your day whether you celebrate it Irish or American-Irish style.

[technorati: , , , ]

No comments: