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An Irish expat living in Chicago recalls a traditional St Patrick's Day at home

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File photo: A man dressed as a leprechaun smiles as he stands beside the dyed green Chicago River during St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Chicago

File photo: A man dressed as a leprechaun smiles as he stands beside the dyed green Chicago River during St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Chicago

REUTERS

File photo: A man dressed as a leprechaun smiles as he stands beside the dyed green Chicago River during St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Chicago

Irishwoman Lorna Finnegan, an expat living in Chicago, reminsces about St Patrick's Day in Ireland.

Spending my first St. Patrick’s Day in America, of course I imagined some differences. In reality, the differences so far have been beyond my own imagination. Forget fifty shades of grey, I don’t think even an Irish person has seen this many shades of green, Lorna writes in the Chicago Sun Times.

It’s fantastic to see an Irish holiday celebrated away from home, especially considering it’s celebrated even better than it is in Ireland. I’m talking green beer, green hats, scarves and headbands, a questionable increase in ‘Kiss Me! I’m Irish’ t-shirts and even green rivers (dyed especially, FYI).

Seen as so much effort goes into celebrate St. Patrick himself overseas, I feel it’s only fair to elaborate what a typical St. Patrick’s Day is really like in rural Ireland…

1. Mass

St. Patrick’s Day morning is spent looking for your only decent green piece of clothing that your mother is making you wear to Mass. Followed by queuing up in the kitchen to get a clump of real shamrocks pinned to your chest. You are usually doing well not to get your beloved green garment soiled, quite literally, by the dirt on the roots of the plant itself.

The Mass itself is more traditionally delivered ‘as gaelige’ meaning in the Irish language.

 

2. The Parade

The parades may vary from town to town. The Dublin parade is always a grand show, with massive floats, marching bands, stilt walkers – the works. The parades begin to vary the further away from Dublin you travel.

 

3. The Dinner

 

Traditionally, the dinner on St. Patrick’s Day is similar to the American ‘corned beef and cabbage’ – my personal favorite – bacon and cabbage.

Most recently, depending on the time of the local parade, Irish people are more likely to treat themselves on this feast day with a chipper for the walk home.

To read Lorna's full article in the Chicago Sun Times, see here

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