B’gosh and b’gorn, happy St. Patrick’s Day. It is said, everyone is a little bit Irish today — President Obama gets his Irish from his grandparents on his mother’s side — so wear something green or you’re libel to be pinched!
I made a few phone calls and found out that Gov. Butch Otter is not Irish, but Mayor Bieter is. “Yes, he is,” said Adam Park, communications director for the office of the Mayor. “His grandmother on his father’s side was Irish. I think she was full Irish so (Mayor Bieter) is at least one-quarter Irish.”
I also conducted a decidedly unscientific poll at the Flying M Coffeehouse in Boise, asking folks if they were Irish. Surprisingly, there were few Irish descendants sipping lattes on St. Patrick’s Day 2009.
How about you? Take the “Are you Irish today?” poll.
In the meantime, here are some fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland and the wearin’ o the green:
— Don’t throw a hissy fit. The story of St. Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland isn’t about actual snakes — it’s about metaphoric ones. In fact, the island of Ireland was never home to snakes. The “banishing of the snakes” was a metaphor ridding pagan ideology from Ireland. Within two hundred years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.
— Green is the new blue. In Ireland, it’s traditional to wear blue on St. Patrick’s day as a show of nationalism. It’s not clear how the color transpired to green in but it’s thought to be linked to “wearing the Green”, a symbol from the 18th century on, of sympathy with Irish independence.
— Kissing cousins, nine-to-one. Americans in the United States with Irish heritage outnumber actual Irish citizens living on the Emerald Isle by a lot: a whopping 34 million Americans claim to be of Irish descent; there are about 4.1 million folks living in Ireland.
— I’ll take my Guinness green. If you’re planning on quaffing a few green brewskies to celebrate the day, just know you’d be scorned in Ireland. By the way, if you want to tint your own beer at home, don’t go overboard, just use one drop of food coloring.
— Erin Go Bragh! If you want some of the luck o’ the Irish to rub off on you, kiss someone who’s Irish.