Thursday, March 24, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Yeah, I know I’m a little late with this, but am I the only one who is annoyed when March 17 rolls around? I was grateful to learn I’m not alone when my girlfriend asked jokingly, in so many words, how the Irish get off thinking they deserve their own day of celebration. Sure, there’s Oktoberfest, but that isn’t an actual “day,” and it isn’t as widely recognized. I myself am an American Mutt, if you will, and there isn’t a day to celebrate my heritage.

I do think that our collective attitudes are changing. St. Patrick’s Day may still be about green beer, shamrocks, and leprechauns, but other holidays are undergoing a metamorphosis. Increasingly, Columbus Day is being celebrated as Native American Day, or Indigenous Peoples Day, to rightfully recognize those who came before all of us European settlers. Hm-m-m, maybe we can make St. Patrick’s Day a national holiday celebrating serpents. Saint Patrick supposedly drove all the snakes out of Ireland, so it seems only fair that we pay the reptiles a little respect.

Down here in the border states, we are also adopting certain Mexican holidays such as the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). It is a good way to improve relations between the two nations, as well as a learning experience for us gringos. It is also a great way to foster creativity. Have you seen some of the costumes in those parades?

I don’t know. I still think that if there should be a holiday for any one particular population, it should be for those descendants of the families that came over here on the Mayflower. What a coincidence, I am one of those people! You get my point. We all want to be celebrated, to belong to an exclusive club worthy of honor and respect. We want to be special. You know what? We all are. We are also just ordinary folks who need to get over ourselves.


  1. Er, I don't get your point, Eric. Eh-hem, isn't Thanksgiving enough of a holiday to recognize those and their descendants, including you, who came to America on one boatload, the Mayflower, and took over most of the North American continent and spread diseases and invasives that wiped out the native human, animal, and plant populations? As far as I know, no one gets March 17th off work as a national holiday, like Thanksgiving. So, um, what's your complaint, again? Personally, I love the fact that here in the U.S, we have different special dates during the year to celebrate each of our different origins and cultures. It's part of what makes us American.

  2. I am saying that these "holidays" promote a bit of arrogance; also, I *do* harbor some shame that my ancestors were at the root of so many problems. We really *did* start the fire, to borrow a phrase from Billy Joel. We need to celebrate our differences less, our similarities more. We need to celebrate that we are animals, in fact.

  3. Hi Eric. I found this blog post and thought it might interest you (make sure to click to the NY Times Op-Ed, which I found easier to understand):