Have you ever tried to count the number of ethnic groups we have? Is that even possible? And yet of all the ethnic groups that landed in the U.S., only one has managed to carve out an entire day to celebrate their heritage, and at the same time to get everyone else involved. Welcome to St. Patrick’s Day 2017.
According to the 2013 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 10% of Americans report having Irish ancestry. On this day, though, “we’re all a little bit Irish.” Still, we’re not naive enough to pretend that we are all really celebrating the Irish’s culture. Most people are just using it as an excuse to party or go off of their diets. Nonetheless, the coast to coast sea of green, along with everyone’s terrible version of an Irish accent, is a constant reminder of the fact that an important influx of immigrants graced our shores in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
We all learned in American history class the reasons they came to America: jobs and famine. And we’ve all heard the stories of how they were treated when they came–the discrimination, the fear, the hatred. And yet, they have become one of the bedrocks of America, one of the shining examples of the American dream. And they’re not alone. Countless other ethnic groups who sought our shores to make a better life have contributed immeasurably to our success and our culture. How cool would it be if, eventually, they could all have a St. Patrick’s Day of their own?
So what’s the big deal about St. Patrick’s Day? It’s that you may as well call it, ‘Why America is Great Day.’ We’re great because we’re woven of a fabric made strong by the diverse nature of the people who came, the ethnicities, too numerous to count, who built America brick by brick, after taking the most courageous leap of faith to board a boat and cross an ocean. We’re great because we have fostered an environment where one small country’s religious celebration can become our own full blown national party. And we’re great because the opportunities for others to do the same are boundless.
That was all a bit heavy, so to lighten it up a tad, here is a video from a terrific local Irish band, Celtic Rush. You can see their concert schedule on their website. Be sure to get out to see them.