St. Patrick's Day dinner

St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As I mentioned on Saturday, my family decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early and I decided to blog about it. I hope you all enjoy the photos and learning a bit about my favorite holiday.

Why we celebrate

To be honest, I wish I knew more about why my family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. I do know some of the history and traditions, but not in regards to my family specifically. Since as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated the holiday by eating a special meal. I’m not sure when that started though. I’m guessing my grandparents did, but I’m not sure.

My full name means “Irish girl of Brian,” which is something that has stuck with me since I was a kid. My dad was always proud to be Irish and he instilled that in me as well. We went to Irish fairs when I was a kid. I always describe them to people who haven’t been to one as being similar to Renaissance fairs, except everything is Irish. That’s probably a terrible way of explaining it though. I wanted to go to the one in Pomona this year, but that didn’t end up happening.

Point being, I’ve always been happy to partake in Irish celebrations. My grandma Mary Jane, my dad’s mom, was of Irish descent. We have a family tree from her side that begins with her grandparents, who moved from Ireland to Scotland and then America. My grandpa Jim is must be Irish too because I have my last name from him, but I forgot what his background is.

My mom’s side isn’t Irish. Just my dad’s side is. My mom’s father was of English descent and my mom’s mom is of an unknown background. She was adopted as a baby and although she did have a relationship with her birth mother as an adult, her background didn’t come up. Come to think of it, I’m not sure what ethnicity her parents who raised her were. I guess they were just considered White. They weren’t Irish, any way.

What we eat

St. Patrick's Day dinner
We don’t really mess with the menu much. Or I suppose you could say my mom doesn’t mess with the menu much. She’s the one that does most of the cooking. It has become traditional for Irish Americans to eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day and my family is no exception to that. The cabbage is just not pictured because it was still on the stove, although done cooking. My family usually has carrots and Irish soda bread with raisins. My brother-in-law jokingly asked if strawberries are traditional and my sister told him “No, but my mom just  likes to have fruit with everything.” That is true. We also had lemon cheesecake for dessert, which is just because we like to have dessert on all special (and non-special) occasions.

I’m sure this isn’t a very Irish meal. This is Irish American food and it’s what my family usually has, but maybe not everyone’s.

My mom has an Irish cookbook that was actually written by two Irish people and we never use it because it’s not what we’ve become used to. The Irish soda bread recipe, for example, calls for onions. We always use a different recipe from an American cooking magazine that my mom clipped out years ago.

Family, friends and good times

the best friend and boyfriend

Erin on St. Patrick's Day

See that twinkle in my eye in the photo above? My boyfriend took this when I wasn’t expecting him to. It was so nice to have a family night with my bf and bff. It made me smile big.

My boyfriend met my family for the first time two years ago when he came over for our St. Patrick’s day dinner. We had been dating a little more than a month. He missed last year’s for some reason. It was probably work related, but neither of us can remember.

Sadly, my best friend had never been over for St. Patrick’s Day. Considering that we’ve been friends since fourth grade and I love the holiday, it’s weird that I never invited her before. I’m such a bad friend! But she came this year and loved it, so I’m glad. She helped me make the bread and said it was fine to eat all the sides and not the main dish since she’s vegan.

It’s worth mentioning that of the seven people at this dinner last night, only my sister and I are of Irish descent. As I said, my mom is of English descent and so is my aunt, her sister. My best friend, boyfriend and brother-in-law are all of Mexican background.

Even though this is already a long post, I want to leave you with two things.

1) My favorite Irish blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

2) My favorite Irish song

I hope this finds you well and that you all have a great week. Do something that makes a smile show in your eyes.

6 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day

  1. This looks like such a great tradition! And I love that everyone – Irish and non-Irish alike – comes together to celebrate. I’m a historian, and so I know way more about the sad but proud and astoundingly resilient history of the Irish people than a non-Irish American really should and it makes me so happy that we celebrate it over here – it’s certainly a deserving history and culture to celebrate.

    1. That’s great! I keep meaning to learn more about Irish history. I learned some new things about Irish Americans in my Chicano/Latino Experience class last spring, interestingly enough.

  2. What a fun yearly tradition to share with your family (and now your bf & bff)! That looks and sounds like a great Irish meal to me! Sounds like you had the perfect St. Patty’s Day girl! :)

  3. I’ve read this post before but came back to it again today since I’m getting excited for St. Patty’s day next week. I love all our Irish American traditions. I’m planning too cook St Patrick’s dinner for the first time, such a big job! Also, love that Irish blessing. The song is sad but beautiful.

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