“On St. Patrick’s Day, what does a ghost drink?”
2) My Irish grandmother first heard this riddle during college in 1967 when drinking at a pub the night of St. Patrick’s Day. She shared this with me because she said the camaraderie she felt that day was unlike anything she’d ever experienced and that she wanted to share this memory with me.
3) This riddle was shared with me by my grandmother, amongst a set of 3 other riddles, over a zoom call that I had with her.
4) Based on the riddle, one can clearly see that there is a celebratory nature tied to alcohol consumption in Ireland. There are practices such as “wetting the baby’s head,” which embodies a joyful drinking celebration when a baby is born to spontaneous meetups at a local pub. Although Ireland has a complex relationship with alcohol – indicated by rates of alcohol abuse, it is undeniable that alcohol has an almost communal, even spiritual effect that enhances kinship to great lengths. This riddle’s association of alcohol with ghosts shows that alcohol is almost tied to a deeper cultural and superstitious framework.