Tradition – Irish

“Every Saint Patrick’s Day my parents would go all out to celebrate.  For most people, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t that big of a deal, and most people don’t really do anything.  But my parents would always make it a huge event.  They would dye the milk green, they would dye my dog green, and my mom would always spray my dad’s hair green with temporary hair dye.  And when we would wake up, our rooms would always be really messy because leprechauns are supposed to make a mess of everything.  So every St. Patrick’s Day we did that until I got a lot older and it was really fun.  I don’t know anyone else who celebrated like my family did.”

Kelsey said that her parents liked to celebrate every holiday, including St. Patrick’s Day.  I asked if her parents celebrated the holiday like this when they were little kids, and she said that she was not sure but it was likely that her parents invented the idea when her and her sisters were born.  Kelsey said she really enjoyed celebrating St. Patrick’s Day because it was so different than other holidays, and because she did not know any other families that were as enthusiastic about celebrating it.  She felt that it helped set her family apart from other families, and she appreciated the effort her parents exerted in order to give her and her sisters a unique and special holiday tradition.  I also asked Kelsey if her parents are Irish and she said that her dad is fully Irish, and she is half Irish.  She said that this may have been part of the reason her dad wanted to make the day such a fun celebration, but she said that even if her family was not Irish her parents still would have celebrated the holiday.

Kelsey also said that when she got older, her parents stopped dying everything green and messing up her room.  Because Kelsey enjoyed celebrating the holiday so much, though, she dyed the milk green herself.  She said that messing up her room was kind of a hassle to clean up later, but dying milk and wearing green was an important part of the holiday that she did not want to miss out on.

It seems like as Kelsey grew up, the context of the holiday changed.  When she was little, her parents’ creativity allowed her and her sisters to participate in a unique holiday tradition that set themselves apart from other families.  However, as Kelsey and her sisters grew up, some aspects of the tradition became a nuisance and no longer appreciated as much (i.e.- messing up Kelsey’s room).  As a result, her family changed how they celebrated the holiday in order to correspond with the age level of the children.  Kelsey did not want to stop celebrating completely since she had so many positive memories of the holiday, which explains why she would try to continue some of the traditions by herself.

Although I also have Irish heritage, my family has been less active in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  We wear green and might go to a small party at night, but I have never heard of a family celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to the extent that Kelsey’s family did.  Although Kelsey’s family has Irish roots, it seems like Kelsey’s parents were more concerned with creating unique and memorable traditions for her and her sisters to enjoy, regardless of their heritage.