S’funny how a positive learning experience can grow from an annoyance sometimes...
As I had written in a previous posting,
(http://chrissvirtualattic.blogspot.com/2009/03/irish-lessons.html) only two brief months ago, mine is a family deeply entrenched in our Irish roots. My grandparents were off the boat and our ties back to Ireland are strong. From the point when each of the six of us, (my siblings and I,) could walk, we were taking Irish Step Dancing lessons. We competed in many the feis, (or dance competitions,) and Oireachtas, (or Irish festival with competitions in dance, music, etc.) and, through our agent, Jo Ahern, we were available for booking as The Toler Irish Step Dancers, guaranteed to add a touch of authenticity to your March 17th celebration. (I personally competed in a dance competition in Ireland back in 1974!)
Our house was a stop-over point for our Irish relatives, of whom there appeared to be more than there were local ones! They could always find a bed, a meal, and a welcome stay whenever in the U.S.
So, as one may imagine, Saint Patrick’s Day was always big. The boiled dinner, the home-made Irish bread, and lots of song and dance.
Last year, however, about late February/early March, I was in one of those party supply stores getting some things for my wife’s birthday, (March 26; What a good husband!) when I heard a child call to his mother; “Mom! Look! For Leprechaun’s Day!” I froze. I wanted to go, er, “educate” the child, (I wanted to educate the living daylights outta him, frankly.) I also really wanted to chastise his mother for perpetuating this bastardization of a cultural celebration. “Why so sensitive,” you ask? GLAD YOU ASK! Because I just knew, I was simply sure, that this kid went to a school where some student’s mother said, “What?!? Celebrating a SAINT’s day!?! In a public school!?! I think not!” and the knee-jerk reaction to placate some parent with a lawyer on speed-dial was change the name of the day! ‘We’ll let the kids wear green plastic derbies and shamrock pins. We can still celebrate the Irish, but we’ll call it “Leprechaun Day,” and no one will notice.’
I just knew this is what happened.
The above tirade was in the process of being written, (with far more explicit and bileful expletives,) for this recent St. Patrick’s Day’s posting, when I decided to first do some research, (I do enjoy research. Is that strange?)
So, I Googled “Leprechaun Day,” and I’ll be a monk’s uncle if there isn’t one! True, the majority of references were those of the culturally-challenged committing a great disservice to Ireland's patron saint by re-titling his feast day with this child-friendly, (yet religiously indistinct,) moniker, BUT a number of different sites acknowledge a difference between the two days and list May 13th, (which is this coming Wednesday, for those not near a calender,) as dedicated to Ireland’s wee folk.
As there were no cited origins, and no ways of celebrating suggested, I am inclined to believe this is just a manufactured grade school holiday.
BUT WHO CARES!!! A holiday is a holiday, right! So, to all of you looking for an excuse to “Irish up” your morning coffee, boil the color out of some dinner, and blast The Dropkick Murphys until you're shittin' green; here ya go! CHEERS!
And if anyone complains, tell them not to try to stifle your cultural heritage! Educate ‘em! It’s “Leprechaun Day,” fer Chrissake!