Saint Patrick’s Day: Bridged by Cultures and Nostalgia

Dressed+to+the+nines.+Call%E2%80%99s+fifth-grade+self+strikes+a+pose+with+her+brothers.+Every+St.+Patrick%E2%80%99s+Day+they+would+go+all+out+in+the+fashion+department.+Green+Clothes+%3D+Pinch+Protection.

Dressed to the nines. Call’s fifth-grade self strikes a pose with her brothers. Every St. Patrick’s Day they would go all out in the fashion department. Green Clothes = Pinch Protection.

Kayleigh Podolski

What first pops into your head when you hear someone say Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up? Party time? Green rivers? Leprechauns? Though Saint Patrick’s Day is rooted in religion and the spread of Christianity into Ireland, since then it has shifted into a holiday known only for drinking, partying, and the color green.

St. Patrick’s Day holds a different meaning for every American- every teen. 

Kyleigh Call (12) lived in Ireland in 2018 and got to experience her heritage and Irish culture firsthand on Saint Patrick’s Day.

“In Ireland, first thing in the morning there is a mass, whether it’s Sunday or not, and you go celebrate heritage (even within the mass) and St. Pádraig. You usually are with a lot of friends and family- the people that you care about and love. Then you go out and have fun. Every single age group celebrates a little bit differently. The younger ones just kind of stay home and hang out in groups but the teens go out and party a lot. There are usually big, big parades with more Irish music than normal everywhere with bagpipes and tin whistles and bodhrán,” said Call. 

Sound familiar? The U.S. is known as a melting pot- a country that mixes together different cultures and traditions as people share their experiences. Oftentimes, things get Americanized like fortune cookies or the Cuban sandwich, but St. Patrick’s Day does not seem to be one of those things. 

“A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast (Ladies and Tangents) where they did research on St. Patrick’s Day, and it is one of the few holidays where people in Ireland also celebrate it the same way we do,” said junior Katie Droese. 

St. Patrick’s Day is not only a way to celebrate personal culture, but also embrace that of others. There is a certain human connection created through nostalgia surrounding the holiday. 

Junior Kayleigh Podolski said, “Ever since I was little my parents would get real excited about St. Patrick’s Day. My dad would dye pancakes and eggs green and for dinner, we always have a classic roast beef and cabbage dish while my mom would decorate the house in clovers and green glitter. Now that I’m older, I have even more admiration for St. Patrick’s Day because I learned that my great-great-grandparents actually immigrated to Canada from Ireland during the Potato Famine in 1845. It connects me to a family I never got to meet.” 

Call reminisced to her early St. Patrick’s Days: “In kindergarten, we had to make these leprechaun traps and the leprechaun came to our classroom … he came and destroyed the whole classroom and even left me a note that said I almost caught him. I tried to lure him with my doll of Sleeping Beauty because I thought he would think that she was pretty and try to fall in love with her and go in my trap … I did not catch him, unfortunately.”

So those stereotypes … maybe they weren’t so far off after all. Maybe that is exactly what makes St. Patrick’s Day so jovial and exciting. By celebrating its roots and embracing new changes, you create a delicious (green) concoction in the melting pot of American culture.

Happy Saint Pádraig’s Day BHS!