I’m Irish. Like very irish. Like as a kid my grandfather slammed a Guinness down on the table in front of me and told me to drink it, it had a lot of protein. The fam is from a little town near Donegal, Ireland – and when I went there as a kid, one story always stuck out the most. My dad had pulled over somewhere outside of town to ask for directions. He pulls up to this farmer on the side of the road and asks where “insert irish sounding name street” is. The guy turns to him and goes, who ya looking for? My dad shoots him this look back, like dude, we’re totally not even in town yet – there’s no way you’re going to know, but alrite, I’ll give it a whirl. Manuel Friel. The man smiles and says OOOOHHHHH Manuel, yep! Straight up that way round the bend couple miles down on the right. Tell him I said hello!
I then proceeded to ride my uncle Manuel’s gate for the next week. DUDE! That thing was SO much fun, and went so fast!! Oh and oh oh oh there’s this town in Ireland called Bree (I think though it was pronounced like Prey, might be confusing towns), and DUDES they had the BEST bumper cars ever. Like ever ever ever! My brother and I rode ’em, and the safety standards are different … omg we were slamming into each other at like 25 mph. I was so sore for a week, but good LORD that was fun.
Ireland is a really cool place. But yah! Here’s some of the reasoning behind some of the traditions we’ll be celebrating today … HIT IT!
Per CSMonitor: “There are only two kinds of people in the world,” an Irish saying goes. “The Irish and those who wish they were.”
But for 24 hours this Wednesday, that saying is a pot o’ blarney. This St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll all be Irish.
St. Patrick’s Day was originally a Roman Catholic feast day for Ireland’s patron saint, celebrated only in Ireland since before the 1600s. But it evolved into a secular holiday in the 1700s, when Irish immigrants in the US held some of the first St. Patrick’s Day parades. More than a show of patriotism, the parades were an opportunity for Irish immigrants to make a political statement about their discontent with their low social status in America.
Today, St. Patrick’s Day is a transcontinental celebration of Irish culture, replete with festive food and traditions. Ever wonder why we eat corned beef, wear green, and pinch our friends on St. Patrick’s Day? Read on to discover how three St. Patrick’s Day traditions came to be.
• Why green?
According to some accounts, blue was the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but that started to change in the 17th century. Green is one of the colors in Ireland’s tri-color flag, and it has been used in the flags of several Irish revolutionary groups throughout history. Ireland is the “Emerald Isle,” so named for its lush green landscape. Green is also the color of spring, the shamrock, and the Chicago River, which the Midwestern city has dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day for the past 40-odd years.
• Corned beef or bacon?
This St. Patrick’s Day, millions of people will sit down to an authentic Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. Or so they think. In fact, only half of it is really Irish. Though cabbage has historically been a staple of the Irish diet (along with potatoes), it was traditionally eaten with Irish bacon, not corned beef. Irish immigrants in America could not afford the bacon, so they substituted it with corned beef, a cheaper alternative they picked up from Jewish immigrants.
• Pinch me, I’m Irish
Forgot to wear green on St. Patty’s Day? Don’t be surprised if you get pinched. No surprise, it’s an entirely American tradition that probably started in the early 1700s. St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers.
PS. If you ever make it out to Ireland, and visit the Blarney Stone, do yourself a favor … don’t kiss it. My relatives told me the locals pee on it and laugh their asses off watching the tourists the next day.