So, you know it is St. Patrick’s Day when…
- Mom lays out green clothes for you to wear even if you don’t like green, even if you didn’t think you owned green. But in the end, you thanked her because everyone else at school was wearing it as well.
- You heard the story of shamrocks, which is really just a fancy name for clover. It is thought that St. Patrick used the shamrock as an image of the Trinity. There is a connection between shamrocks and green beer in that the Irish would add shamrocks to their beer (and stronger drinks) in what they called “drowning the shamrock.” Seems it was in this connection that I also heard of four leaf clovers and the luck of the Irish. Looked for a four leaf clover but never found one. I guess I just wasn’t patient or lucky enough–they occur roughly in 1 out of 5,000 clover leaves.
- Read aloud time was Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. Worse was when someone tried to make green eggs and ham.
- People talked about leprechauns. I’m not sure we talked very much about them in Youngstown. Seriously, can you imagine one of these little creatures any where near a steel mill?
- Mom made corned beef and cabbage for dinner. It’s thought that Irish Americans in New York City may have started this as a cheaper substitute to Irish bacon.
- Chicago dyes its river green. Youngstown never had to–the Mahoning was always kind of green. Not any more.
- St. Patrick’s Day Parades. This is a custom in many cities with Irish populations. In Youngstown, the parade actually started after we moved away, and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. For more info, here is the official website.
Seven is a lucky number and so this seems a good place to stop. I will be celebrating the day. My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Corrigan, which makes me 1/8th Irish. Again, it’s probably about the only time of the year I think about it. But on St. Patrick’s Day, it is a good day to be Irish, no matter your genealogy. Erin go Bragh!