Guy Fawkes’ Day

The plotters are angry that their faith is persecuted and decide to strike back. Their plan is an outrageous act of terrorism, the destruction of the entire government in one big explosion. Fortunately, it is foiled in time but as news of the conspiracy leaks out the population is enraged. Soon, every member of this minority religious faith is viewed as a potential terrorist and things only go downhill from there.

If this sounds like today’s news, it isn’t. This is the story of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes led a Catholic group to plan the violent and public destruction of Protestant King James I and the entire Parliament. It reverberated through years of increased persecution of Catholics in England and all her colonies – including what became the United States.

And every year it is still celebrated on its anniversary, the Fifth of November, when Guy Fawkes is still burned in effigy in bonfires across the UK.

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St. Patrick’s Day

Good people go to Heaven, but the Celts went everywhere. There isn’t a corner of the globe where you can’t find us if you look hard enough. Nations as far flung as Canada and Australia are largely Celtic in origin, and the majority of those Celts came from Ireland.

Our people have wandered the earth like almost no other, and for one day we all return home with the help of a hyphen. Many of us become Irish-Americans or Irish-Canadians on Saint Patrick’s day when any other day American or Canadian would be enough. We drink up well in pubs, cheer on the bagpipers, and think back to what our ancestors must have gone through to get us where we are.

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St Patrick’s Day

This piece is a repeat from three years ago – I don’t have anything to add.  The re-run gives me more time to enjoy the day.  Sláinte!

Good people go to Heaven, but the Celts went everywhere. There isn’t a corner of the globe where you can’t find us if you look hard enough. Nations as far flung as Canada and Australia are largely Celtic in origin, and the majority of those Celts came from Ireland.

Our people have wandered the earth like almost no other, and for one day we all return home with the help of a hyphen. Many of us become Irish-Americans or Irish-Canadians on Saint Patrick’s day when any other day American or Canadian would be enough. We drink up well in pubs, cheer on the bagpipers, and think back to what our ancestors must have gone through to get us where we are.

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Another Pledge Drive!

It’s Pledge Drive time at Minnesota Public Radio!   That means one thing to me – I better get my own Pledge Drive in while I can.  It’s been two years since I tried an in-blog pledge drive, and the results were mixed. But I have to try again.

Welcome to another Barataria in-blog Pledge Drive!  There’s a survey at the end where you can tell me just what you think anonymously and easily, whether you give or not.

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This is Halloween!

Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see,
This our town of Halloween!

- From “A Nightmare Before Christmas” by Tim Burton

Halloween is one of those things that’s pretty obvious.  It’s a spooky time of year when everything seems a little depressing – why not make it fun?  Yet any history of the holiday starts with ancient Celts and Romans and winds up … not entirely making sense.  How do we get from religious celebration to gorging ourselves on sugar?

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Irish Pride

The big party known as St Patrick’s Day is upon us.  Saint Paul, like many cities, more or less shuts down for a day as the town is painted green and flows with rivers of Guinness that wash celebrants down the streets from one bar to another.  The theme of the party is Irish Pride, something that seems like a cheap excuse for a lot of drinking to most people.  The Irish aren’t a people who stand out most of the year, blending in as part of the great majority of our culture here in the US, Canada, Australia, and all the other places we’ve settled.

But it wasn’t always this way.  The reason we still have a party isn’t just a big drunk as we wait for Spring.  Irish Pride was earned the hard way, like fraternity hazing.  It’s a standard that nearly all ethnic groups have had to go through as generations move from being immigrants to mainstream citizens.

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Pledge Drive!

It’s Pledge Drive time at Minnesota Public Radio!  This Winter’s pitch for bucks comes at the same time Congress is (once again) looking to slash funding for public broadcasting.  That means one thing to me – I better get my own Pledge Drive in while I can.

Welcome to the first ever Barataria in-blog Pledge Drive!  There’s a survey at the end where you can tell me just what you think anonymously and easily, whether you give or not.

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