St. Paddy's Day in Dublin
Life is strange in the sense that we often just assume the masses are doing something so we go along with it. Especially Americans, as a country of immigrants, we love to celebrate holidays. It took me 24 years of celebrating St. Paddy’s Day to learn or really question the significance of the holiday. Saint Patrick is the foremost saint of Ireland that brought Christianity to Ireland. St. Patricks Day was made an official holiday in the 17th Century based off of the day of his death as an official Christian feast day for the Catholic church. However, the emigrants from Ireland into the United States revamped the holiday to make it a secular holiday to celebrate all things revelry and Irish. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in the US since 1737, before our independence, originating with a parade in Boston.
A country that only has a population of around 5 million people, yet their culture in pubs, Guinness, dancing, and more is widely known and celebrated around the world. This year over 400 cities around the world had celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day.
Being outside of the US and away from many Americans has really led me to question and better understand the cultural influences that impact the world that I grew up in. This year has really opened my eyes to culture and is something that I will continue to be curious about and enjoy learning more about as I grow friendships with people all over the world.
Countries have their own “brands” and that has really been something that I try to understand and put in words as an American living abroad with few Americans around. Being an American, I know people will often think I am extremely proud of my country, freedom, guns, rich and other stereotypes. I enjoy getting to break down the stereotypes with people but also further understanding the individualist and freedom focused culture that I grew up in. I’ve embraced the identity that my nation gives me, but love working to find ways to communicate effectively with others not like me. It’s definitely a work in progress.
Ireland, your people and your culture have continued to treat me well, even though Americans go bigger for St. Paddy’s Day. Learning to live with my biases and learn from others has been a wonderful part of this whole experience.