Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Why I Wear Black
I'm Irish. I just don't believe in St. Patrick. Now in my drinking days this was a great excuse to get roaring drunk with a bunch of people who were not Irish. And in later years I used it as an occasion to fix up corned beef and cabbage. Yeah, I really like it.
But St. Patrick's Day is about celebrating the fifth century conversion of the Irish to Christianity. And there began all the problems. Ireland was a peaceful country when they were all pagans. Well, except for a marauding Scot or two. I am not exactly sure St. Patrick's "conversion" was all that peaceful. Then Henry the VIII came along and wanted the Catholics to be Church of England. And Ireland splits between the Orange or Protestants and the Green or Catholics while the pagans in the countryside continued to make Maypoles and Jack-O-Lanterns.
My Dad's Mother was a Irish Catholic with roots back to the Kennedy's and my Dad's Father was Protestant Irish with some English and Scottish thrown in from a rape during conquests. Grandmother whispered Black Irish which hinted at the Moors in there somewhere too.
Dad, who had been forced to go to Catholic school and be called John instead of Jack, married a Protestant woman, my mother, and so began the next round of religious wars on the small level.
St. Patrick or no I think I reverted to my distant pagan roots. And since I don't know whether to wear orange or green on this day I generally wear black for all those that have died in Ireland because of religion.