Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck 'O the Irish

Today is a day for celebration! For those who are Irish, and even for those who are not – St. Paddy’s day fills the pubs with those looking for a pint. Even better that many pubs will serve ‘em up green!

I am part Irish and while I have no intentions of going out for a pint (I have my French class this evening), I am celebrating by wearing a green shirt and I’m taking a break from my French homework (actually, I’m stumped for the moment, so this was a good excuse to do something else for awhile).

When I was little, I recall being very confused about my heritage although I knew it was something very important. I owned a Ukrainian looking shirt – therefore I figured I must be part Ukrainian. I had a kilt and my Aunt had married a Scotsman, therefore I figured I must be Scottish as well. It took me awhile to figure it all out. I am actually mostly British with one Irish grandparent.

My kids have it worse when they are trying to know who they are. My hubby brings a different mix to the table. French & Aboriginal (no, he is not Metis, that is a whole different culture group). I try to tell my oldest that he is Canadian and just leave it at that, but knowing his roots seems just as important to him as I recall it being to me and he's not satisfied with the simple answer.

One funny slightly digressive story; I have features that at times have caused people to guess various ethnic backgrounds for me far apart from what they actually are. I have (*ahem* okay, HAD) very dark hair and I have very green eyes. Many years ago when I worked in a retail store, I had a bit of a stalker who was an older gentleman who wore a turban. He continued to insist I was a good Indian girl who must be willing to marry his son. Okay, THAT was a bit extreme and I really don’t think I look THAT unlike who I say I am. It’s just a funny story now and I hope he found a good wife for his son!

If you are Irish, today I lift a hypothetical pint in your direction! If you are in Ireland, enjoy the festivities!! I’m already seeing circulating photos of the parties & parades.

And here is a bit of history about the term “Luck of the Irish”. It NOW has a connection to good luck – hence the charms & clovers & pot of gold, but in the beginning, it was not so good. It was a bit of a put down.

When Irish people came to America, they were not treated well (what was that movie a few years ago – Gangs of New York? – it showed many of the various immigrant groups struggling along, trying to survive) Anyway, they had it rough. When Irish people then had any sort of success, others would chalk it up to luck because they figured the Irish people couldn’t be capable of such success on their own – so that is where the term came from! Now you know!

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