Going Green on St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all y'all out there who are Irish or just wish you were! In honor of my own Irish heritage, I'll be rocking a very cute green jacket and some beads I acquired during last year's trip to New Orleans. I'll also be celebrating by taking my sons to the St. Patrick's Day parade in Downtown LA. I've never been to a St. P's Day parade but hopefully it'll be fun.

I will admit that I feel a little bad for going to the parade since this is Holy Week. I know lots of cities had their St. P's celebrations this past Friday or Saturday because, if I understand it correctly, you're historically supposed to abstain from drinking and revelry during Holy Week. I'm not sure how many people still observe in that fashion.

Plus, even though I'm not Catholic, I'm quite aware of the tension between what seems to be the increasing secularization of St. P's Day and those who want to maintain it's roots as the observance of a Catholic feast day. The kids came home from school talking about the 21st century trinity: little people, pots of gold and leprechauns. I had to spend a bit of time teaching my sons about how St. Patrick brought Catholicism to Ireland and chased all the snakes away.

I also know I could barely get into my local grocery store last night without tripping over the ginormous displays of liquor at the entrance. Guinness wants to make St. P's Day a national holiday here -- and of course they won't mind one bit if more people drink and make them wealthier. Yours truly doesn't drink. I don't need a pint of Guinness in order to relax and act crazy. I do that very well all by myself, thank you very much.

I also wish more people in the world didn't drink. Ask any police officer what's the number one factor in domestic violence calls and you'll hear them say, "Alcohol." No alcohol would also mean no more drunk drivers. Wouldn't it be nice to have a world where we didn't need an organization like Mother's Against Drunk Driving? I'll definitely be taking the subway to the parade today, mostly because I don't want to risk being hit by a drunk driver.

Yeah, most of the folks wearing green today have no idea about real Irish history in this country. They may have heard about the potato famine but they probably don't know that there would probably never have been a labor movement in this country without the Irish immigrant. Folks don't even know how the Irish weren't even considered white when they came here and were called white negroes or white ni**ers. Click here to see some of the stereotypical and downright racist newspaper cartoon portrayals of the Irish.

Of course, over time, the Irish successfully become white (read "How the Irish Became White" for more on this) primarily by agreeing to get in on the oppression of black folks in this country. Even though all that is conveniently forgotten, many media portrayals of the Irish still revolve around a bunch of stereotypes. My dad isn't a Guinness-drinking, lazy, fighting type of guy who can't hold a job. He doesn't roll around with a shillelagh, he doesn't have red hair and he's not a police officer or a firefighter.

But, I will admit he does like potatoes and he does have a tam that he wears sometimes...

As for luck, I'm convinced the folks over at Bear Stearns must be 100% Irish. They've gotten the mother of all bailouts from our government. On Friday, the Federal Reserve saved them from going under. I find it interesting that as hard as I looked online I couldn't find a definitive number of how much the Federal Reserve gave them. I know it has to have been millions and millions of dollars. Gosh, who said welfare doesn't exist? Isn't this corporate welfare? Whatever happened to the idea that throwing money at the problem isn't the solution? Then over the weekend, JP Morgan snapped them up for the price of $236 million or a mere $2 a share. It's just shady and you KNOW it's all eventually going to get passed on to taxpayers (also known as you and me). It sounds like we need someone to drive the snakes out of Wall Street.

Yeah, I'm definitely not Irish enough for hookups like that. If I'm broke or having "cash flow problems" the government is not going to step in within 24 hours to save my behind. I suppose I'll just keep on making my own luck. In the meantime, give some good luck kisses to all the beautiful Irish women you know. And for those of you at work, keep it to an air kiss unless you're married to or dating the woman. I really don't want you to get popped in the lip or sued for sexual harassment for attempting something you shouldn't have.

So, however lucky or unlucky you may be, have a fab St. Patrick's Day. Éire go brách!


Nerd Girl said…
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Lovegirl and I went to the parade here in Jackson on Saturday, had a great time - hope you and yours do as well!
Liz Dwyer said…
Nerd Girl,
Glad you had a great time at your parade! My boys are already up and bouncing around. They are READY! Whew!
Jameil said…
do they drink green beer in ireland or is that an american thing? also may i say potatoes! mmmm!! i didn't know about the abstaining from revelry, etc in holy week. i gave up fast food but i am going to drink my first glass of green beer-- just one or 2-- no drunkenness.
Anonymous said…
In years past I have seen special green milkshakes at McD here in Ireland, but I think they leave the beer alone. Hope you had a great time at the parade!
Liz Dwyer said…
I'm not sure but I think the green beer might be an American thing, sort of like how fortune cookies are. Sharifa (commented below you) lives in Ireland and says she hasn't seen it so maybe not. And I think Holy Week used to be a period of fasting. Depending on the denomination folks either didn't eat at all for the entire six days! And no sex either! Pretty hardcore!

I used to LOVE those green milkshakes when I was a kid. I haven't had one in ages. I wonder if they have them today. I might get ones for the boys if they do. I'm headed out for the parade in about 20 minutes. The kids are SO excited!!!
Ian Lidster said…
And an 'Erin go brach' to you, my lovely friend, and here is an air-kiss in your direction across the ether.
SheWhoLives said…
Happy St Paddys Day, Liz! Very interesting about the history of the Irish... I never knew any of that stuff. Thanks for sharing :-)
Anonymous said…
Happy St Patrick's to you too, Liz. No I've never seen any green beer here, but then I don't drink much and seldom go in pubs. As for revelry, nobody here shows any restraint on that front. Most people treat the day as another excuse to get smashed out of their skulls - a complete travesty of what a religious festival is meant to be about. And thanks for that info about the Irish in America, I didn't know any of that.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!
Jen said…
The whole green beer, green bagels thing is U.S. - what else?

I used to love the St. Patrick's Day Parade growing up in NYC - I'm a Jewish/Irish mix, so I liked to play up my Irish part.

I still want to go back to Ireland to visit relatives, but while we all talk about it via Christmas cards, I'm not sure if either side will cross the ocean.
the last noel said…
You know, I got to work and totally forgot to wear green. I took a leaf from outside and pinned it to my lapel. I didn't want to be the target of mean ass leprechauns (or rowdy college students).
1969 said…
Happy belated St. Paddy's Day to you and the fam. Hope you enjoyed the parade. Shamrock Shakes at McDonald's? LOL
Liz Dwyer said…
Why thank you! It was definitely a fab day and we all had a whole lot of fun.

Hope you had a good one. The history stuff absolutely fascinates me so glad to pass it along.

I figured the green beer thing is just a US thing, but did folks tone it down at all yesterday since it's Holy Week or is it only Americans that got a little bent out of shape over it?

Thanks! Just think, next year you'll be celebrating it in Italia!

Yesterday this guy asked why I was all tricked out in the shamrocks and green and I told him, "Because I'm half Irish." His response? Laughter. "Ha-ha! That's a good one!" Grr...I'll write more about that in today's post. Anyway, I hope you get together with your relatives there someday. I'm sure that would be so cool.

Once I left Pershing Square hardly anybody had on green at all, and they didn't even bother to grab a leaf like you! I guess folks figure that if someone at work pinches them for not wearing green they can sue for sexual harrassment!

Thank you! We forgot to go to McD's for the shamrock shakes. My kids are sooo LA that they wanted to go to Jamba Juice for smoothies. But back in the day those Shamrock Shakes were da' bomb!
Anonymous said…
Did they tone it down because of Holy Week? Not that I noticed. In fact I expect there'll be just as much drunken cavorting going on over Easter. The Irish may be religious when it comes to looking after their families and helping people out but celebrating seems to be a religion-free zone!
Anonymous said…
Happy St. Patrick's Day - a day late, but still sincere in the sentiment.

I was raised Catholic - parocial school 1-12th grades and I gave up Catholicism for Lent one year and have been heathen-like ever since.

I'm glad you celebrate the holiday without the artificial stimulation. I suffered with a horrible hangover yesterday and I've sworn off the spirits (again-smile).

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