far away. But in the spirit of Irish Americans and Irish pride, I'll offer a few tid bits that I've discovered recently.
St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated to some extent for approximately 1000 years in order to honor St. Patrick's life. There are theories postulating that several bishops' lives were rolled into one legend about a single person, St. Patrick, however there was at least one historical person named Patrick. This is because while there are many legends and stories about the saint, there are few primary sources to support claims about his life.
When you think about St. Patrick's day, usually the first thing we think of is the shamrock. This actually references a parable the saint used to explain the Trinity when Patrick spoke with the Irish people. It seems strange to think that a Christian reference would lose so much of its meaning, and yet become such a cultural icon.
harp has been a staple instrument for Celtic music for a long time, being one of the oldest instruments in the world. It's on the label of everyone's favorite Irish beer. Harps are much more universal than shamrocks.
I've always been a harp kind of girl, never having been Catholic, but always having been part Irish. For me, someone in the diaspora, St. Patrick's day is more about celebrating Irish culture and the rich and beautiful history of the Emerald Isle. So I'll listen to some fiddle, harp, and maybe some hand drums. I'll drink a nice dark stout, and I'll dream of the Fir Bolg and Tuatha de Danaan. Also I'll wish my sister-in-law a happy birthday. Seems like a reasonable plan for an Irish-American.