In Other Words
This year, my daughter celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in her preschool. I find this holiday to be fun and festive and in fact would have been surprised had they not marked it in some way. It would never occur to me not to celebrate such a day, even though I am not Irish.
As we prepare for Easter, a mere two weeks after St. Patrick’s Day this year, I find there is a strange correlation in the way we celebrate these two seemingly unconnected holidays. I know many families that celebrate Easter in their own way, regardless of religious affiliation. Like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter has also become a holiday that is for everyone, bringing with it traditions and events that may or may not have much to do with the original significance of the day itself.
Celebrating holidays and events that are not traditionally ours is not unusual in the melting pot of America. In a country founded by immigrants, certain holidays have become simply a part of the American identity, regardless of the original country our ancestors came from. For one day, we all can pretend that we are a part of a tradition, be it hunting for Easter eggs, or wearing green, having a margarita on Cinco de Mayo or Chinese food on Chinese New Year. Even March Madness has the national interest. For those among us, myself included, who aren’t basketball fans, getting involved and interested is fun. There is something to be said for the enthusiasm of a mass of people. It can make you feel like a part of something that technically you aren’t.
This got me thinking about what other holidays this month are worthy of celebration. It appears that in the month of March, there is much to celebrate. In addition to it being Irish American Heritage Month, it is also Music in Our Schools Month, National Nutrition Month, National Women’s History Month and Red Cross Month. All worthy causes to celebrate and recognize.
To my surprise, I also found a very extensive list on the website holidayinsights.com recognizing specific days that are worthy of our holiday-loving attention.
Some of these days are genuinely important and have a place in American history, such as Employee Appreciation Day (first Friday in March), Girl Scouts Day (March 12), Freedom of Information Day (March 16), International Earth Day (March 20), National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day (March 29), and National Doctor’s Day (March 30), celebrating the first use of general anesthesia in surgery.
Some celebratory days are legitimate, but seem as if they could be made up, such as National Pig Day (March 1) or Ear Muff Day on March 13, celebrating the day the ear muff was patented. There is National Pi Day, celebrated on March 14 (get it? 3.14). Then there is Near Miss Day on March 23, marking the anniversary of the day in 1989 when a very large asteroid narrowly missed hitting the Earth.
Some celebration days are touching, like Hug a GI Day on March 4 (if this day passed you by without carrying out its mission, I imagine a GI would be appreciative of thanks on any day).
Some of my favorites are simply hilarious, like If Pets Had Thumbs Day (March 3), Worship of Tools Day (March 11), Extraterrestrial Abductions Day (March 20, sharing the day we celebrate Earth Day...coincidence?), and Something on a Stick Day (March 28). Some days caution us to beware of even our friends such as Be Nasty Day (March 8) and the Ides of March (March 15).
Some of these days are created just for fun, such as National Popcorn Lover’s Day on the second Thursday of March. A truly “National” day takes an act of Congress, and clearly, regardless of the fact that some of these celebratory days promote themselves as such, they are not.
After perusing this list and finding great enjoyment in it, I think celebrating such an important holiday like St. Patrick’s Day without being Irish is just fine. If we can celebrate ear muffs and popcorn, doctors and Girl Scouts, why not an Irish saint?