Happy St Patrick’s Day

‘Tis great to be Irish (even if your not)because this is the one day of the year when everyone is a little bit Irish.

Saint Patrick’s Day is an official Christian feast day observed since the 17th century. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. He is also credited with chasing the snakes out of Ireland. A bit of a stretch because there is no evidence that there were ever any snakes in Ireland in the first place. Still, as any good Irishman will say, “It makes for a fine tale” especially after a Guinness or two.

Celebrations include public parades and festivals, green attire and ceilidhs. I didn’t know what that last word was so I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia a ceilidh (there should be an accent mark over the e) is a traditional Scottish or Irish gathering. It can mean, in its simplest form, a social visit but in today’s usage it usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing.

If you live in Boston Saint Patrick’s Day is a BIG DEAL. People of Irish ancestry are the largest single ethnic group in Boston. The Irish boom came in the 19th century following the Great Irish Famine.  At first there was a real separation of the Puritan Bostonians and the newly immigrated Irish but with the increasing Irish population, political organization and strong group loyalty the Irish took political control of the city.

The Irish left their mark on the region in a number of ways: in still heavily Irish neighborhoods such as Charlestown and South Boston; in the name of the local basketball team, the Boston Celtics; in the iconic Irish-American political family, the Kennedys.

The annual dispute these days is whether OUTVETS, a gay veteran’s  group can march in the annual St Patrick Day Parade. I’m happy so say that the organizers of the parade finally gave in and said yes and have promised to change their by-laws so this annual dispute will not raise it’s ugly, prejudicial head again.

So raise a pint! Here’s another toast to the feisty Irish with their rich heritage. They bring color and life to a stodgy old city at least one day a year!

May the leprechauns be near you,
To spread luck along your way.
And may all the Irish angels,
Smile upon you St. Patrick’s Day.

Posted in Boston, Holidays, Massachusetts, Uncategorized and tagged , , .