Yes it’s that time of year again. St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and here on the U.S. side of the puddle, it can quickly become a train wreck. This year I’ve decided to make an easy list that we can all hand out to our beer hat wearing, cheap leprechaun-looking, fake Irish dancing friends in order to keep them (and us) from acting the fool. Here’s five simple DON’Ts that will make the Wearing of the Green safer and more palatable for everyone, no matter where you live.
“Everything speaks in its own way” – James Joyce
You know, there have been a thousand posts in my brain for the last week or two. There have been arguments in my head about how to write sensitively and objectively about things that are too close to my heart and in many cases, multiple things have been thrown at various screens. There are so many political nightmares both here in the US and in the North of Ireland that as soon as I start on one, it becomes obsolete and the next gets worse and worse…. so I surrender. It is my birthday weekend and instead of banging on the keyboard for another minute, I am heading into the sunshine with a well-worn copy of Ulysses, having a pint or two at my favorite local, and celebrating Bloomsday. I’m making silly Joyce-themed memes out of my photos and stepping away from the upcoming quagmires of doom. It’s time to clear my head for a minute and drop into frivolity for just one second…before parade season really starts and we see just how screwed everyone on both sides of the puddle is this summer.
So happy birthday to me and happy Bloomsday to you. Remember, “Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.”
The true tale about a fairy tale….and the story behind the greatest Christmas song of all time. If you haven’t watched this particular ‘Making of’ there’s no better or more appropriate time than to remedy that than on Christmas eve (babe)… and this is especially true given that the Pogues’ touring manager Frank Murray just passed. Merry holidays to you all, whichever one you celebrate this time of year.
Autumnal Equinox. Second Harvest. Mea’n Fo’mhair. Mabon. Whatever you call it, this day marks the changing of the seasons and it celebrates equality and planetary harmony on the earth. The Northern and Southern hemisphere rarely get the same thing at the same time. There are only two days that they see eye to eye when it comes to light and darkness, and Mabon is one of those days. During the Autumnal Equinox both hemispheres get exactly the same amount of light—and the same amount of darkness—due to the tilt of the Earth and the position of the sun. The seasons may still be reversed, but the lengths of the day and the night are exactly the same and that balance only happens one other time throughout the year. The harmony may not have anything to do with mankind at all, but man has celebrated it for centuries.
Gather the women!!
Today marks Nollaig na mBan, also known as little Christmas or Women’s Christmas. It’s an old Irish tradition that evolved from celebrating the Epiphany. Traditionally, women were responsible not only for the Christmas time entertaining and feasts but they were also responsible for all the holiday clean up…and every day clean up too for that matter. Except on January 6th, that is. Today’s the day they got a break. On Women’s Christmas, 12th Night, little Christmas – whatever you want to call January 6th – the men took over the chores and the households so that the women could gather and drink, tell stories, kick off their shoes and relax for a moment.
It was a real treat back in the day. Today the tradition has spread around the world and through emigration and ancestry it has evolved a little. In modern times, it’s a day for women to gather and treat themselves to a night out at a bar with friends, a trip to the favorite day spa or salon, or head out for a fancy meal. Nollaig na mBan is the day to play hooky from work (or from the house) and enjoy a day with your ladies. Create your own little henhouse, tell stories, catch up, have a cocktail and relax. No matter what you work too hard on – the house, your career, taking care of you family, etc – enjoy a day off, even if it’s only a mental one. We deserve it.
It’s time to strip the old away and make way for the new in 2015, so this blog has a whole new look. After a few readers gave me some input about the black background being harder to read, I opted to change it a little. Hopefully this makes things easier and brighter for everyone.
That goes for next year too. I think we all need easier and brighter happenings in 2015 – and I wish you all an even better year, full of excitement, learning, and joy. Thank you for making this new blog a constant source of merriment for me in its first year – and now on to the second!!
Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh!
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.