Thursday, March 17, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Life is like a cup of tea,
it's all in how you make it
 Irish proverb

I grew up in "Irish" family. My father's Grandfather came from Ireland. My mother's roots are mostly Irish with a bit of English mixed in - her family has been here a bit longer.  If you look back at the names in my family  - they are full of the usual Irish surnames. Lot's of O's and Mc's.  Growing up I knew a lot of my heritage.  My parents celebrated their "irishness."  Each St. Patrick's Day was celebrated.  I grew up knowing lots of Irish songs and a bit of Gaelic too.  I could walk into any Irish bar in the city and sing right along with all the traditional songs.  I also had corned beef every St. Patrick's Day - and a few other times throughout the year. 

My kids don't have that same sense of being Irish as I did.  They know it's in their background, but they are much more global kids.  When they ask me what they "are" I stress American first. They are Americans born in South Africa to American parents of Irish nationality.  They don't know all the words to Danny Boy or Come Back Paddy Reilly.  The girls have Irish names - I was adamant about that - at least a sampling of their heritage - ballerina has the "map of Ireland" on her face as the saying goes.  Once a year I celebrate their "irishness" with them  Sometimes we head into the city to the parade - not this year - we always have corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes for dinner on St. Patricks Day and I will play some Irish music for them later.  We will read a book about St. Patrick and how he drove the snakes from Ireland and we will say a prayer to him. Being a Thursday, not too much drinking going on here - but here's a toast to you on St. Patrick's Day:

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!'
Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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