Leprechauns Questionable, Holiday Enthusiasm Real

Colleen OBrien, Lifestyle Editor

Four leaf clovers. Leprechauns. Pots of gold and rainbows galore. I have to say that St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.

It could be because of my Irish heritage. It could be that I need a festive break in the long stretch between winter and spring vacations. It could be that I take pride in actually knowing what St. Patrick’s Day celebrates (Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who, according to legend, drove all the snakes from the island. You’re welcome.).

It could be that a tiny but insistent part of me still believes leprechauns are real.

But most likely it’s because of the elaborate scavenger hunt that the “leprechauns” leave for my family every year. One paper note is laid out for us to easily spot, containing a riddle or rhyme to lead us to the hiding place of the next clue, which leads us to the next, and so on, until we discover our “pot of gold” (usually green cookies or a mint ice-cream cake).

Yes, it’s very juvenile, but I still take it seriously, chasing clues as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.

As my 4 younger siblings and I have grown older, this is one activity of which we have never grown out, and hopefully never will. I guess for me, St. Patrick’s Day has always been associated with child-like wonder and surrender to fantasy.

The most amusing part of the holiday, though, is seeing Americans make a bigger deal of an Irish holiday than the Irish do themselves. According to senior Leah Kehoe, who was born and raised in Ireland until August 2009, the native Irish find it just as amusing. “It’s definitely a bigger deal over here; it’s very funny,” Kehoe said. “Everyone here gets so excited and it’s just absolute mania. New York has this massive parade and everything and Ireland’s like ‘Oh wow, look at them.’ They find it quite funny that it’s such a huge deal over here, where at home, it’s cool but its not that big of a big deal.”

According to Kehoe, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is festive but much more relaxed. “We have a parade and everyone just kind of celebrates. We make all different things in school ’cause there’s no separation of church and state so we make St. Patrick’s Day crosses and we all dress up and play games like getting rid of the snakes and everything like that; we all go to the parade and just have a good time.”

Someday I hope to celebrate St. Patty’s in Ireland, but for now, I’m content with celebrating my heritage with scavenger hunts, leprechaun traps, and lots of green.