St. Patrick’s day is one of the days when I miss home the most. I love nothing more than celebrating Paddy’s day no matter where I am. I revel in passing on the Irish traditions to my kids (even though DD declared herself English in school today – having sent her in with a tricolour of balloons, a flag and goodies for her classmates!), and encouraging my colleagues to celebrate. I love that the 17th March is almost universally celebrated. Once a nation of emigrants, not many parts of the globe have been left untouched by the Gaelic experience!
But as an expat for nearly 20 years, it is always tinged with a little sadness.
I well up at the thought of family and friends enjoying the parades and the long weekend back home. I recall the days of freezing in my Irish dancing costume and walking in my hometown’s parade! I become wistful when I read about other expats around the world, and how they are celebrating. I am touched to see Prince William and Kate wearing fresh sprigs of shamrock (and of course Kate wrapped up snugly in her wool green coat!) as they inspect the Irish Guards in London, and to see the Americans and Aussies mark the day with as much enthusiasm as they celebrate their own special holidays.
I smile when I see the colour green. Traditional music touches my soul making me shiver. One year when DH and I were living in Hong Kong and celebrating St. Patrick’s day in Delaneys in Wan Chai, he commented that ‘on St. Patrick’s Day everyone wants to be Irish’. Never a truer word was spoken.
Everyday I am proud to be Irish…but on St. Patrick’s Day, I am bursting with pride and thankful that my ancestors fought so long and hard to give us this day to celebrate our heritage and culture; a day we can share with so many others around the world.
So…an Irish toast…..’May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live’.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!