As a Queen’s, New York native, who grew up in a borough populated with people from everywhere on the planet, I enjoy learning how people celebrate holidays and “mix things up,” to reflect their history and personal experience.
I am not of Irish descent but had I had Irish-American nuns in elementary school. Every year my so my fellow students were put through our paces and sang a medley of Old New York Irish Songs like “Harrigan” and “When Irish Are Smiling.” on St. Patrick’s Day. It didn’t matter if a good many of them had names like Garcia, Kosic, and Bello, it didn’t matter. When the nuns said “sing” … you sang.
Years later, life took an ironic twist, when I met and married a Dublin, Irishman. I then spent considerable time trying to explain how to pronounce my last name (Pechulis) and my heritage. What I was never quite able to explain to my in-laws was how it was possible that their first-born Irish son, had left to attend an Irish Catholic College, in a city that is known for its Irish heritage, and a famous Irish Parade, but somehow he managed to find one person who didn’t have any “Irish.”
However, venturing out of the familiar and the expected, provides us with an opportunity to learn about ourselves while we are learning about others. So in honor of the day, I am sharing three of the most unusual, international St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, I could find. Oh, and here’s an interesting fact – St. Patrick was an immigrant. He came from a Roman – English family and changed his name when he made Ireland his home.