Not just clovers and green beer

How St. Patrick’s Day can mean so much more to you this year

Shannan Lojeski, News Editor

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Kiss me, I’m Irish. Three leafed clovers. Green beer. Red headed leprechauns.

Often times, these are some of the first things that come to mind when we think about St. Patrick’s Day. For some people this holiday is a day to celebrate with lots of alcohol, but to others St. Patrick’s Day can hold a lot of significance and mean so much more.

St. Patrick’s Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate ethnicity.

Ethnicity can be defined as an aspect of identity that emphasizes peoplehood constructed through the preservation of origin narratives and interactions with various institutions and other groups in society. Ethnicity is a part of who we are, and St. Patrick’s Day can remind us of that.  

On March 17, we celebrate the death of Saint Patrick back in the year 461. Do any of us really know who Saint Patrick is and why we celebrate him every year?

The Patron Saint of Ireland, Patrick, was a British man taken by Irish raiders as a young slave. After six years of slavery, St. Patrick became a Christian and escaped back to Britain where he resided for thirty years. As he reflected on his experience, he felt called by God to carry the gospel back to Ireland where he experienced extreme pain and spiritual growth. He then returned to Ireland and brought thousands of Irish people into the Christian faith, spread literacy and encouraged learning.

So what?

It doesn’t matter if you’re religious and it doesn’t matter if you’re Irish. Remembering St. Patrick on March 17 can be a day for you to reflect on who you are and for all of us that includes ethnicity. You do have roots and St. Patrick’s Day can be an opportunity for you to explore where those roots lead.

Water those roots this year and take time to celebrate your culture on St. Patrick’s Day.

If you’re Irish, that may mean wearing a shamrock to honor the native Gaelic people and the religious oppression that they experienced. If you’re not, that may mean taking a minute to reflect on how you identify yourself ethnically and what it can mean for your future self.

This year don’t just think about leprechauns and green clovers on St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrate your culture and consider what ethnicity means to you.

St. Patrick’s investment in the Irish culture and peoples was completely unexpected but the result was honorable and continues to be celebrated to this day.

Can you imagine what could happen if you invested your time this year in your culture and your people? The result could be extraordinary.