Thursday, March 17, 2011


Happy St Patrick's Day!

Here in Massachusetts, we take St. Patrick's Day seriously. There'll be
parades of one sort or another all over from today through Sunday, the biggest
of which will of course be in Boston. That one is preceded by the traditional
breakfast attended by the local and some national politicians at which they
fling friendly jokes and sarcasm back and forth at each other in between
singing traditional Irish songs. Abington's parade (which I've blogged about
before here) will be this Sunday at 1pm. That allows the folks who might be
working today a chance to enjoy the parade with their families.

It's no surprise it's such a big deal here. You can talk all about the parades
in New York City and the river running green in Chicago,but for sheer
numbers, Massachusetts and Boston has them beat. You've heard of red
and blue states? Well, Massachusetts is an Irish green state.

According to the U.S. Census, in 2009 24% of the population in Massachusetts
were of Irish descent. In Boston, the number was 17%. Nationally, it's 12%.
Here in Abington, it's 44.5% and we're only the 8th Most Irish town. #1 is Scituate
at 47.5%. The Catholic church here in town is named St Bridget's and nearby is
St Patrick's Cemetery. And there's not a day that goes by at the bookstore
where I don't hear someone talking with the accent of some part of Ireland.

Not coincidentally, today is also Evacuation Day, a legal holiday in Boston and
Suffolk County. On March 17th, 1776 the British forces under General Howe
left Boston for Nova Scotia, thus ending the Siege of Boston by General
George Washington. Some of my ancestors from my father's side of the family
took part in that siege, so today has significance on both sides of my family!
I can just imagine how the Irish politicians who established the holiday must
have loved the concept of celebrating both events on the same day!

I'd thought I'd include a clip that shows just how pervasive the Irish influence
is in Boston. This is a clip of Red Sox ace relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon
dancing to "Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys at the 2007
American League Championship Series. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Alanna said...

Bill, I love the clip you shared! After reading your post I am inspired to write my own St Patrick's Day entry. Thanks for a delightful entry today! Alanna