Get your Irish straight

Print Article

At best, it’s misplaced love for all things Irish.

At worst, it’s cultural appropriation, and wrongly done at that.

We’re quick to correct American stereotypes, even when kindly meant. So if we love feeling Irish — even for a day — shouldn’t we get it right? I asked a Post Falls resident, former Miss Northern Ireland and BBC journalist Katherine Dillon Eckhoff, to help.

Forget the “four-leaf clover.” It’s neither Irish nor good luck, and naught to do with shamrocks. The three-leafed shamrock is a symbol of St. Patrick, who used it to represent the Holy Trinity while converting the Irish. A four-leaf clover is, ironically, an English Druid symbol, as is the pinching-and-luck business (remember, the English aren’t exactly popular in Ireland).

“Kiss me I’m Irish” — No Irish would be caught dead wearing that; “it’s bloody nonsense!”

Corned beef and cabbage? Ugh. They prefer steak, salmon, or roast lamb, rarely eating corned beef and never boiling it.

Call it St. Patrick’s or Paddy’s Day. Patty is short for Patricia, a girl’s name Saint Patrick wouldn’t appreciate. Nor did he drive away any mythical snakes.

And it is all about the revered St. Patrick in Ireland, not drinking green beer, which is for tourists. Traditional Irish celebrations begin with High Mass.

“Children saved up for gold-colored harps, and traditional pennants of green, white, and gold of the Irish flag worn on their coat lapels to morning mass,” Katherine told me. “Saint Patrick’s Day is during Lent, so for those seven weeks, people in Ireland gave up something. When I was a child they observed fasting... Like a mini Ramadan. Men stopped drinking, and children gave up sweets, but on Saint Patrick’s Day we got a dispensation from the Pope to celebrate without interfering with our Lenten pledges.”

Thus with Papal permission, after mass on March 17 the Irish “stuff themselves” with food, candy Easter eggs, plus a drink — the only opportunity during Lent — at the pub, where group singing still tends to spontaneously erupt.

Speaking of music, bagpipes (and tartan kilts) are Scottish. Irish pipes are the Uilleann pipes, played underarm and which sound softer, like Irish St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.” — Irish blessing

• • •

Sholeh Patrick wishes everyone a Happy (St.) Patricks’ Day, even those not lucky enough to share the name. Irish blessings and jokes welcome at Sholeh@cdapress.com. (Berni, that means you.)

Print Article

Read More Columns

Idaho’s a fine place to retire

January 18, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Idaho made yet another top 10 list of best places to retire. Talk about stating the obvious; gorgeous scenery, affordable living, quality medical facilities, vibrant and friendly communities. All g...

Comments

Read More

Bonus days are a blessing

January 17, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Here’s a personal On This Date in History: On Jan. 17, 2008 I was emceeing the Post Falls Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet. During the evening, I felt a bit clammy and muddleheaded and a little short...

Comments

Read More

Question is, who are you?

January 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press What began as an everyday greeting at a workout Sunday soon resulted in one of those consciousness-raising moments. Ironic, really; Peak Fitness is where one normally focuses on the body, not the min...

Comments

Read More

Weather extremes are off to a fast start for 2018

January 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Our last big storm across the Coeur d’Alene area late last week created a slushy mess in many spots. At Cliff’s station, nearly 6 inches of snow fell from that system, bringing our seasonal total to ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X