Irish culture welcomes all

St. pattys day 2:Sean McCullough, senior digital media major, shows off his Irish tattoo.:Ricky Afuang - State Hornet


St. pattys day 2:Sean McCullough, senior digital media major, shows off his Irish tattoo.:Ricky Afuang – State Hornet

John Saelee

Sean McCullough, senior communication studies and digital media major, said he is proud of his Irish heritage because the Irish share their holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, with people from different backgrounds.

“On St. Patrick’s day, we include everyone through dancing, singing and drinking,” he said.

McCullough said he discovered the people of Ireland treat everyone equally when he visited Ireland last year. He said the Irish welcomed him and his friends in the bar scene, unlike many bars in the United States.

“In the U.S. people feel they have to watch their back and it makes everyone feel on edge,” McCullough said. “In Ireland, people treat you like family.”

An issue he said he has with St. Patrick’s Day in the United States is the non-traditional items people serve.

“I’ve never touched green beer. The green beer is not part of our tradition. This is made by adding green food coloring to pale ale,” McCullough said.

He said pale ale is not even the Irish’s beer of choice to begin with – it is usually Guinness or a dark beer.

St. Patrick’s Day has evolved in the U.S. from mainly honoring a patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, to maintaining Irish traditions – which nowadays is implemented by Irish car bombs and pinching.

Liam Murphy, associate professor of anthropology, said St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. includes material unrelated to the holiday, which interferes with its original meaning.

“As far as leprechauns, pots of gold and rainbows you would be better off asking Lucky Charms,” Murphy said.

History professor Candace Gregory said the holiday is celebrated to keep Irish culture and roots in Ireland alive.

“The modern St. Patrick’s Day celebration dates to the 18th century, and was a way for Irish (immigrants) to celebrate their traditions and cultures,” Gregory said.

Gregory said, the color choice, green, on this holiday dates back to the patron saint. His method of teaching Christianity to the pagan Celts in Ireland, Gregory said, was through the clover leaf.

“St. Patrick used the four-leaf clover as a visual representation of the trinity to explain it to the pagan Celts of Ireland he was trying to convert how the religion works,” Gregory said.

Murphy said St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to fully embrace Irish heritage.

“I like to remember I’m of Irish decent,” he said. “I’m proud this heritage and every year I will raise a pint and remember my family.”

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