Last weekend we went to visit friends for a St. Patrick's Day party. This is not a 'holiday' I have ever really celebrated before - though I did go to the St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston the year that I was dating a bloke who grew up there. True to stereotype, there was much drinking involved before, during, and after the parade - to the point where I was the one who drove us home at the end of the day even though he had promised he would stay sober.
Americans love to decorate for the holidays and even people who have no ties to Ireland at all will often decorate their house for St. Patrick's Day. Our friends however, are of Irish descent so we were not surprised to find the house well and truly decorated. Many Americans don't realize that St Patrick's Day has long been a much bigger deal in the US than in Ireland itself. It was only in the 1990's that it began to be celebrated in Ireland the way it is here with parades and so on because the Irish realized it was a great tourist attraction. St Patrick's Day was of course originally a religious holiday and up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17th!
At our friends' house, there was a holiday wreath of leprechauns on the front door, and an Irish flag on the front of the house:
As we entered the house, everyone was given a "Kiss me, I'm Irish" necklace to wear:
I realized I had probably committed a major social faux-pas as I had neglected to wear anything green. Our host was wearing an Ireland rugby shirt - very appropriate as Ireland won on Saturday - and his children had really dressed for the occasion:
There were shamrocks and leprechauns all over the place:
There were even holiday-themed craft projects for the children to complete. There were green beads and safety pins to make brooches, and stickers to decorate these shamrock shapes. It might be difficult to see in this photo, but that's a pot of gold at the end of each rainbow.
The beer menu included Guinness and Harp, and there was Jamieson's Irish Whisky on hand too. Just about every stereotypically 'Irish' item you could think of for St Patrick's Day - with the exception (thankfully) of green beer! I'm looking forward to celebrating St Patrick's Day again next year!
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