Monday, March 14, 2022

The Greening of America, HoCo-Style

‘Tis the season. Kicking off cultural (rather than religious) celebrations of the well-known Irish Saint, here’s the Howard County Department of Tourism:

💚 May the luck be with you! Bars, breweries, and restaurants across Howard County are getting into the St. Patty's spirit with special events, menus, and craft brews.


Oh, boy. “May the luck be with you!”

When Star Wars (or the words of the liturgy) collide with American Irish sentiment, who knows what could happen?

If you’ve been reading the blog for quite a while now, you know I’m not too keen about the commercialization of Irish culture in American St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Don’t pinch me, March 17, 2015

Luck, when associated with the Irish, is particularly problematic for me. 

The expression, "The Luck of the Irish" comes from the widely-held belief that the Irish were incapable of great accomplishments, so if they achieved anything out of the ordinary, it was just "luck". 

Not everyone agrees with my sentiments. The way I came at this topic last time brought out some strong opinions from those with deep Irish-American roots. Their responses made me think that I had not fully understood St. Patrick’s Day in the US as a celebration of the Irish-American experience. I was looking for it to be an authentically Irish experience. But there’s more to it than that.

Still, and you cannot move me on this, I take a dim view of restaurants that sell any green drink as Irish and market menu items like Corned Beef Quesadillas or Irish Nachos for your Saint Patrick’s Day festivities. My husband, who is from Belfast, Northern Ireland, has learned to live with the annual cultural appropriation with no more than a wince.

One thing we agree on, though: a drink called a Car Bomb. For Heaven’s sake, look it up, bartenders and restaurant owners. Why on earth would you think this is a celebratory name for a cocktail?

If you enjoy going out to celebrate on March 17th, the link from Visit Howard County will give you a range of choices. I’d like to point out that a) it’s not compulsory to drink alcohol to have a good time and b) COVID isn’t over. I’m not sure I will get much buy-in for either of those statements but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m lucky in that I can enjoy Irish traditional music almost any time I want in my own home. Not this Thursday, though. My husband will be out playing a Saint Patrick’s Day gig at Charlestown Retirement Community. 

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here in Columbia/HoCo? What does it mean to you?

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