Today is the day to wear green. It is the day we are all welcome to celebrate shamrocks, limericks, leprechauns and all things Irish. Like most “holidays,” St. Patrick’s Day has been distilled in the great vat of commercialism. In the past two and a half centuries the intended ideology of this fifth century feast day has morphed into a day to celebrate Irish heritage and of course, have a great reason to celebrate just about anything.
On this day people, whether of Irish descent or not, can simply add the letter “O” in front of their surname, wear a “Kiss me, I’m Irish” pin and join in the clinking of pints of green beer during the chorus of The Wild Rover.
Being born in Saint John, a seaport city that is renowned for its Irish heritage, and having strong Irish roots in my family, I have always looked forward to St. Patrick’s Day for the unifying effect it generates. It is the one day of the year when all eyes can smile and all laughter has an Irish lilt. Essentially, like the overt national pride observed during the Olympic Games in February, St. Paddy’s Day reminds us that everybody comes from somewhere and that Canada is truly a rich cultural mosaic, one that recognizes, celebrates and embraces diversity. This attribute of our nation did not come by chance.
Of all the integral components to St. Paddy’s Day festivities, the term “the luck of the Irish,” is one that stands out for me. Attributed to Irish prospectors and miners who found significant deposits of gold and silver in the California rush, the expression has a connotation for great luck, wealth and prosperity. On the other side of the rainbow the Luck of the Irish, a song composed by John Lennon, speaks to the misfortunes suffered by an occupied nation. Famine, blight, war and centuries of strife saw thousands of immigrants seek their fortune in the New World because there was no longer opportunity in the land of their birth. These are the very reasons why so many people from ‘far and away’ seek to come to our shores. Is it luck however that defines a people? Why do we gravitate towards charms and bobbles that we hope will bring us luck? What is luck?
Beginner’s luck. Blind luck. Lady luck. Good luck. Bad luck. Lucky charm. Lucky star. Lucky break. Lucky Loonie. Luck of the draw. Frosted Lucky Charms. Rod Stewart told us that “some guys get all the luck” but of all the ways to be lucky it would appear that ‘the luck of the Irish’ trumps them all. In the end, I believe we make our own luck. Hard work and determination aid one in being lucky — just ask Kevin Martin. That was not the Blarney stone he was throwing although at times it was hard to tell the difference.
Whatever your reason for wearing green today, take a moment or two and offer a ‘sociable’ to St. Patrick. Hoist a responsible jar and dance a jig or reel. Play the flute or harp. Today is a lucky day to celebrate all the things that make this country one great place to live! As Canadians, let’s celebrate our accomplishments that have come as a result of our hard work and not dwell what some would deem as hard luck. We make our own luck, Irish or not!
Tim Cusack owns that 1981 Loverboy album and would answer Clint Eastwood by saying, “Yes.”