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.