Happy St. Patrick’s Day Tarts!
Up here in the greater Boston area St Patrick’s Day is a big deal. Once you leave colonial times and all that is related to that Boston grabs hold of its Celtic tradition and does not let go. Of course everyone knows our basketball team is the Celtics with the green and white colors. But did you know that there is Boston Red Soxs team wear in green? Yes, even though there is no green in the team colors you will find team hats, shirts, jackets and other wear in green.
We have traditions here as well; one being the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Boston. This is a political roast. Every year the local news reports on the fun and has sound bits of area politicians singing Irish songs. This breakfast actually was held this morning. We also have a St. Patrick’s day parade through Southie, an area of Boston that has traditionally been very Irish.
I grew up in Ohio where we had a strong German and Polish influence. But if you had any Irish in you, then it was green you wore that day. We cut out a shamrock or two, colored a rainbow and a pot of gold and were done. There were no special foods, no parades and I was too young to know or care about political breakfasts. When I was in school, I always wore green on St. Patrick’s Day as I believed my heritage was cut and dry, 100% Scottish on my mother’s side and 100% Irish on my father’s side. Simple!
Well I grew up and married a half English, half Italian boy (and that is what his heritage is, nothing else) and moved to his parents hometown of Plymouth. Once here I learned of the above mentioned happening. I was introduced to corn beef and cabbage as a feast meal. To tell the truth I really don’t remember my mother ever cooking such a meal. The frenzied shopping for the corned beef, the cabbage, the potatoes, the carrots and the onions. Can you believe the last couple of days that by the time I was able to shop in my store for cabbage we were sold out! Some of you my know this meal by the name of New England Boiled Dinner or simply Boiled dinner. It is so good! We usually have Irish soda bread with it. Yum!
My girls wore green and had much more fun at school on this day. There were many more crafts and such surrounding the day. There were Irish children’s stories, legends and lore shared. One year the school was renamed Federal O’Furnace. It was there in plain sight as I drove my bus load of students up the drive. After the next rain it returned to plain Federal Furnace. There were math contests where shamrocks were posted all over the school and students followed a trail by solving the math problems. The kindergarten chased a leprechaun who had escape out of a hole in the bottom of the sack their teacher had. There were always a few minutes taken for a special cookie or cupcake. It was always a grand day.
Even though my girls are long grown to adulthood it is still a much anticipated day. My younger daughter claims it is her favorite holiday. We have our dinner which I will be cooking tomorrow. The girls usually go to Boston for the festivities but did not this year as both worked today.
Each year I see the display of St. Patrick’s Day merchandise getting a little larger. There are more tee shirts, hats and costume jewelry. There is glass ware and party goods as well as decorations. It is just plain fun.
Oh, and that simply heritage, well I did some genealogy a few years back. I found that one of my Scottish great-grandmothers was actually Irish and one further back in a different line was also Irish. Then in my American Irish family I found one of my great grandmothers was a Henderson, therefore at least part Scottish and she married a my great-grandfather who was half Welsh. So far I do seem to be pure Celt but who knows what I will find if I can ever get past my current road blocks.
So wear green today proudly, for on this day all are Irish.
My question for you is: What are the traditions in your neck of the woods?