Today is St. Patrick's Day. There were parades in many major cities, including New York, Chicago, Boston, and several others. Thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans wore green today. Bars serve green beer. Chicago even dyes the Chicago River green. And while thousands of people celebrated this day, I did not.
It's not that I have anything against St. Patrick's Day or St. Patrick. That having been said, as I see it, unless one happens to be Irish, Nigerian (he is the patron saint of Nigeria), Montserratian (he is the patron saint of Montserrat), Catholic, an engineer, or a paralegal, there is not too much point in celebrating the holiday. Since I am none of those things (my mother's family made it through 400 years of living in North America without marrying any Irishmen; my father's family 300 years without marrying any), I don't see any real need to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. To me it would be no different than celebrating Songkran. Since I am not Thai or Buddhist, I don't celebrate that holiday either.
Of course, in the United States the fact that I do not celebrate St. Patrick's day does cause some problems. Here these seems to be an assumption that everyone celebrates the day, at least if they are Northern European descent. For that reason I do get asked very often why I am not wearing green (I do not get pinched--the people who know me know better than that) and if I am eating corned beef (the answer to which is, "No," I never eat corned beef). And most seem mystified as to why I show no real enthusiasm for the day. It does get tiresome explaining that as I am neither Irish nor Catholic, I see no reason to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Do not get me wrong. I certainly don't want to rain on anyone's parade. I know that traditions and customs are important to me, so I do want those who celebrate St. Patrick's Day to enjoy the day and have a lot of fun. I fully realise that St. Patrick's Day is very important to many and that in this country it is a de facto major holiday (I suspect that more people celebrate St. Patrick's Day rather than the legally recognised Labour Day). At the same time I do wish those who celebrate St. Patrick's Day would be a little more considerate to those of us who do not celebrate the day. Do not ask us why we are not wearing green or if we are going to eat corned beef. Do not expect us to go drinking green beer on the night of St. Patrick's Day. Simply let us go about our day as we do every day. For my part, I will not ask you why you are not wearing a leek or a daffodil come next St. David's Day.
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