I don’t know exactly why, but this year St Patrick’s Day in America is bringing out the curmudgeon in me. As a family, we’ve never really observed it here, by going to a parade or anything, though I suppose we could. It seems too hokey altogether to do that sort of thing. Next thing you know I’d be putting Mabel in a wig of red ringlets and sending her to step-dancing classes.
I’m also quite unjustifiably narky today about other people appropriating Ireland and deciding it’s something in the name of which they should get to wear green and drink alcohol and play tricks on their children.*
Mostly, my grump should be directed straight at Hallmark, who fairly reasonably – perhaps, in as much as they’re just in it for the profit – decided that nothing was happening in mid-March – Valentine’s is over; Easter isn’t here yet – and so all of America should push out the boat, dye it green, and decide to be Irish.
It was pointed out to me today, just as I was about to complain that nobody else’s national holiday is celebrated all over America, that it’s just the same with Cinco de Mayo (that’s the fifth of May, Mexico’s day of celebration). Any excuse for a party, all the better if it has some sort of food/drink/colour that can work into a theme for an eye-catching display of chips/dips/chocolate/trinkets in the supermarket, especially when half the country is still miserably buried under a thick blanket of snow.
In nursery school this week Mabel’s class have been decorating large shamrock-shaped pieces of card with green paint and green feathers and pompoms and furbelows and whathaveyou. Her two teachers, who hail from India and Africa, called them clover and didn’t know what the significance was, but that’s what they were doing all the same. This irked me, perhaps more than it should have. (I’m irkable, you may have noticed. Irk me at your peril.)
So I don’t think we’re doing anything special tomorrow. We’re not attending a potluck at the local chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, if there is one; we’re not planning to drink Shamrock Shakes at McD’s; and I don’t have a single potato in the house. If we wear green it will be by accident.
Maybe it’s because tomorrow is the day when it’s not remotely special to say you’re Irish in America.
*The tricks thing. Read my previous post about what Americans do for St Patrick’s Day.