As a child, we were not allowed to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. My father’s speech sounded something like, “That is not a Christian holiday and as Americans, we don’t support the IRA mwah-mwah-mwah-mwah.” All I heard was, “You’re gonna get pinched.” I should make a big deal about St. Patrick’s Day just to maintain my black sheep cred, but I don’t.
For my children, St. Patrick’s Day has changed from wearing green and bruising classmates’ forearms to wearing green, making leprechaun traps and not violating anyone’s personal space. That’s a step toward holiday improvement for them, so yay for St. Patrick’s Day as a children’s holiday. For adults, it is a claim to be Irish and drink too much holiday. Neither of those methods of celebrating sound like fun to me. The descendants of Irish immigrants in rural middle TN don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but every single college student seems to celebrate it. Since college students celebrate putting on their pants in the morning (or afternoon), they’re not really celebrating this particular holiday as much as they are changing the color of their alcohol for one night.
I do NOT want to squabble with those who claim to be Irish when they can’t even name their relative who immigrated to America. I have my great grandmother’s steamer trunk from her trip to America in my closet, but I don’t get wasted on Gathering Day. If communities start having St.Patrick’s Day celebrations with traditional Irish food, dancing and snakes, I might get excited about the holiday. Green beer? No thank you. Big cities have parades and green rivers that sound like fun. Knoxville just has pub crawls and that makes St. Patrick’s Day equal in priority to Snuggies. So, for now, I will just wear green . . . in front of my father.