Opinion: Being Irish on St Patrick’s Day

“…being Irish isn’t just a property of your being or your ancestry—it’s a huge chunk of your personality! I see it all the time now that I live here: The Irish restaurants, neighborhoods, and flags are hard to miss.”

On Being Irish 0313

St. Patrick’s Day is historically celebrated with parades Credit: Unsplash images

Despite city-sanctioned St. Patrick’s Day festivities being canceled due to the COVID-19 dilemma, I decided I might as well continue my scheduled holiday reminiscence in lieu of actually celebrating the day.

Personally, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just a holiday — it’s a lifestyle. It’s hard not to see it in that way when your hair is red, your skin is also very red, your diet consists mostly of potatoes, and likely, you might be a great fan of Guinness. I don’t think of it that way all the time, but every year on this day I’m reminded of the strong genetic grip my Irish ancestors have on me.

I remember when I was younger I would Irish dance. I was in a little troupe and got to wear the traditional outfits and shoes, and every year we’d travel to different towns and dance in their St. Patrick’s Day parades. My favorite was always Buffalo. It was and still is the only town I’ve been to where there continues to be such strong ties to one’s ethnicity, which was very apparent when I’d visit for St. Patrick’s Day. 

Like in my family, being Irish isn’t just a property of your being or your ancestry—it’s a huge chunk of your personality! I see it all the time now that I live here: The Irish restaurants, neighborhoods, and flags are hard to miss.

Being Irish in Buffalo is like being an Italian on the Jersey Shore — it’s like a sacred space for us to indulge in tendencies passed down through several generations (someone should look into pitching the idea to MTV). You can just see the influence the Irish had in the formation of the city and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day here only intensifies the appreciation I have for Irish culture and history.

While the city has left us high and dry, there’s a good chance the masses will congregate anyway; That’s the power of the Irish spirit! St. Patrick’s Day is a day for anyone vaguely Irish to get together with people of similar backgrounds and interests — to celebrate their Irish heritage and share it with their communities. That is why, despite the warnings and cancellations, I know holiday will persist.

I suppose that leads me nicely into the moral of this piece — be safe! Besides the fact that the aforementioned coronavirus is a concern, we all now know how crazy people get when the shame associated with public intoxication disappears. Just keep your wits about you if you decide celebrating is worth venturing out into Buffalo during the virus.

We all know the drill by now: Don’t touch your face, wash your hands frequently, and scrounge up whatever semblance of hand sanitizer you can. It can get crazy in the streets on this day anyway, and with this pandemic people will only get crazier. So, with that being said, enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day the best you can and stay safe!

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