‘Erin go Bragh’ – Ireland Forever

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish lassie’s holiday!

I come from a long line of strong, Irish heritage.  My great-grandmother, Nora McDonald, was born and lived the first 16 years of her life on the west coast in Clifden, Ireland before crossing through Ellis Island.  Growing up, I had the privilege of getting to know my great-grandmother and listening to the tails of Ireland.  I have also had the ability to “holiday” or vacation the shades of green and explore the countryside myself.  As one can imagine, with blood of the Irish flowing through our veins, St. Patrick’s Day is not just any ordinary day to wear green.  It is a day of celebration!  Here are a few St. Patrick’s Day traditions my family enjoys.

Corn beef/cabbage and scones

Family tradition of corned beef and cabbage

It is common for families to gather around the table of corn beef and cabbage dinners. Cabbage has always been a traditional Irish food.  However, many don’t know that corn beef is an American made tradition.  As the Irish immigrants came over, corn beef was cheaper that the “Irish bacon” or ham that they were used to in their home country.  Don’t get me wrong, my family still goes with the corned beef and cabbage dinner, but it is not an authentic Irish tradition.  While we are on the topic of food, we can’t forget scones.  It was not uncommon to have these wedge-shaped breads during tea time or a snack.  They are a tradition that my family likes to partake in.

Church Service

Church Service to celebrate ST. Patrick

March 17th marks the anniversary of St. Patrick, the Catholic patron saint of Ireland. Most of what is known about St. Patrick is woven with legends and folklore.  However, it is known that he helped spread Christianity across Ireland.  So, if you are a religious person, look for local services to remember St. Patrick.

Sláinte

Always Enjoy a Guiness

What is a good Irish celebration without a cold Guiness? Without a doubt, Guiness in the drink of choice in Ireland even though the country in only number three for the most consumption (behind British and Nigeria).  As my family raises our glasses on March 17, we say “Sláinte” which means “cheers” in Gaelic.

The Shamrock

Lucky Shamrock

Not only is it tradition to wear green, but also a shamrock. I can remember my great-grandmother having shirts with shamrocks on it.  The shamrock was a sacred plant back in antient Ireland as is symbolized rebirth as spring was in full bloom.  Ireland also has a dark history and by the 1600’s, the shamrock was a symbol for Irish nationalism emerging.  Many Ireland citizens wore shamrocks as a symbol of pride for their country.  So as a symbol of pride for our Irish heritage, my family not only wears green, but a shamrock.

There are many other fun traditions that surround St. Patrick’s Day including parades and mischievous leprechauns. You can celebrate with traditional Celtic folk music or an Irish jig. However, you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, have fun and enjoy the Irish traditions.

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