St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday that occurs on March 17 in observance of the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish culture tends to traditionally celebrate this holiday by attending mass and having huge feasts with families and loved ones. St. Patrick’s Day is observed worldwide and is celebrated different ways by different cultures.
At BL, there are many people who observe this holiday and feel connected to this historic occasion, one being Mrs. Flaherty, an English teacher. Flaherty is Irish Catholic, whose grandparents originated from Ireland, and travels to Boston, her hometown, to celebrate this occasion with her family. She traditionally goes to mass in the morning and has a meal of turnips and carrots, corned beef and cabbage, and potatoes, a traditional Irish meal, at her aunt’s house with extended family.
St. Patrick’s Day is a day when Flaherty can celebrate her heritage because her heritage is who she is, Flaherty said. This day allows her to connect more with her family and her faith while also passing down the tradition from generation to generation.
Mrs. Kenney, the Upper School counselor, is another member of the BL community who observes St. Patrick’s Day. She feels a special bond with this holiday because not only are her mother’s parents from Ireland but also her father’s grandparents. “Growing up it had always been a huge part of my life and is important to me because it represents my background, and I try to rebuild some of those traditions with my own kids,” Kenney explained.
Kenney grew up in a community in Chicago that was predominately Irish where there were parades and huge feasts for the special day around Saint Patrick. Kenney, like Flaherty, celebrates this holiday in its long-established way without modern-commercialized customs like leprechauns. To Kenney, this is a “holy day” and a day to take “pride in heritage because it was not easy for the Irish when they came over to America, but they are very resilient people,” and she loves to celebrate that, Kenney said.
Mr. Roche, a learning specialist, celebrates his Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day with his family in a more “Americanized” way. This day to him is about connections and a reminder of learning about heritage, and he takes this as a day to do something different. He celebrates with his family by wearing green and eating Irish meals as well, but he also partakes in the Irish leprechaun tradition.
Roche will dress up as a leprechaun and go into his children’s room and mess it up and leave a gold coin for his children to find. Roche celebrates this holiday as a day of family and fun and a way to express his heritage.
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