Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Glories of Being Irish

Today I was congratulated for being Irish.  I thought it was weird to congratulate someone for their ethnicity. Congratulations for being Mexican? Congratulations for being African America? Your ethnicity isn't something you really have any control over. In my case: one Irish person met another Irish person and they procreated and then along came me. I don't recall there being a questionnaire asking me what ethnicity I wanted to be. I was informed that St. Patrick's Day (Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is not a real holiday. It is just an excuse for people to drink alcohol and run around stupid and drunk. I disagree. In my eyes, St. Patrick's Day is the day to celebrate all things Irish and Ireland.

According to a census conducted in 2008, I am one of 36,278,332 Irish Americans. Eight of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Irish American and 22 Presidents have been partly Irish (the most famous, obviously being JFK). Descendants of Ireland have produced: Bing Crosby, Walt Disney,Gene Kelly, Grace Kelly,  Maureen O'Hara, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Georgia O'Keeffe, Robert F. Kennedy,  Billy the Kid, Dropkick Murphys, The Decemberists, Flogging Molly and me...amongst others.

Just like almost every other ethnic group there are Irish stereotypes. We drink too much, we're loud, and we fight. Well, those do apply to my family. All Irish are super holy...In my family that only applies to two people. My Nana goes to mass every Saturday and goes to every funeral and wake of anyone who she has ever come across in her life. The other, according to my family, is me. I'm the person in my family that goes to church regularly, is involved with church, and when someone in the family has a question about anything religious,it's me they go to.

Catholicism is huge with us Irish. I'm the only one in the family that didn't make their confirmation in the Catholic Church. (Huge Scandal) When a friend was amazed at the number of first cousins I have, my response was "two words: Irish Catholic". According to Wikipedia: New Light Presbyterians founded the College of New Jersey, later renamed Princeton University, in 1746 in order to train ministers dedicated to their views. The college was the educational and religious capital of Scotch-Irish America. By 1808, loss of confidence in the college within the Presbyterian Church led to the establishment of the separate Princeton Theological Seminary, but deep Presbyterian influence at the college continued through the 1910s, as typified by university president Woodrow Wilson. So as a proper Irish girl it is only proper that I am attending Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall. :)

So tonight I am going to have my corn beef, my cabbage, and my boiled potatoes. Today I proudly wear my green: Shirt, Cami, fingernails, eyeshadow, socks, and sneakers. I rock my protestant orange shoelaces on my bright green sneakers. I will listen to Celtic rock and traditionally Irish folk music on my iPhone at work. I will put my red hair up into pig tails.  I am going to read Irish proverbs and blessings. And I may or may not imbibe a green beverage or two.

"I've never been to Ireland but I know it's in my Blood!"
-Raised on Black and Tans (Gaelic Storm)

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