Happy St. Paddy’s Day everybody!
If you’re American you might be surprised to see it written as ‘Paddy’ instead of ‘Patty’, but rest assured in Ireland it’s always St. Paddy’s day. The shortened version of Patrick is Paddy (almost everyone has an Uncle Paddy in their family), so the holiday celebrating our Patron saint, who brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th Century and according to legend banished the snakes from the island, is affectionately shortened to St. Paddy’s day. In America however, Patty seems to have been adopted as the shortened form, much to the bemusement of the visiting Irish since Patty is generally regarded as a girls name.
But in truth there are many differences between how St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in Ireland compared to the US, even though the St. Patrick’s Day festival as we now know it now, owes a lot to the celebrations of Irish-Americans in their adopted cities.
For example the well known tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day is entirely an (Irish) American tradition. This is most likely due to the Irish emigrants living near Jewish neighborhoods when they first settled into their new cities around the 19th century. Others might have had a different experience growing up in Ireland but I remember we were likely to have peas, potatoes and carrots with a roast chicken or lamb for our St. Patrick’s day dinner, followed by ice-cream with green and yellow jello! 🙂
‘Craic’ means good fun. The Irish are known for ‘having the craic’ and if you go out to enjoy celebrating tonight, you might say in the morning that ‘it was a bit of craic’ or that ‘the craic was mighty’.
Having the craic doesn’t necessarily mean drinking, but you might receive an invite to ‘have a jar’, or ‘have a few scoops’ or even ‘go for a few quiet ones’ to celebrate.
If while celebrating you find yourself explaining the pinching tradition to an Irish person, they may tell you to ‘Go away out of that!’, meaning they don’t believe that’s a thing!
Gas = Funny
After explaining the pinching tradition they might say ‘That’s gas altogether’ meaning it’s strange and funny!
Sláinte = Cheers!
Of course you’ll need to know how to offer a toast, and the traditional way is to say ‘Sláinte’ (slawn-cha) which is the Irish word for ‘Your Health’
Many people are surprised to find that Irish is an actual language. It’s usually referred to as Gaelic in the US, but more correctly called Gaeilge (gway-el-ga) in the language itself. Although most people in Ireland speak English as their first language, Irish is still widely spoken throughout the country, with some areas known as the Gaeltacht (gway-el-tockt) where Irish is the primary language spoken still.
Here’s a few simple Irish words and phrases!
Dia Dhuit (Jee-ya gwitch) = Hello
Slán (slawn) = Goodbye
Sláinte (slawncha) = Cheers/Your Health
Céad Míle Fáilte (kayd meela fawl-cha) = One Hundred Thousand Welcomes!
Go Raibh Maith Agat (Guh rev moh ah-guth) = Thank you!
Finally I’d like to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick’s day in Irish, so enjoy the rest of your day and ‘Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Padraig oraibh go léir’ (Ban-ock-tea law ay-la Paw-drig ur-iv guh lair)