Your soundtrack, m’dears.
When I lived in Arcata, several lifetimes ago, I had an experience on St. Patrick’s Day that changed the holiday for me, forever.
I was skipping home after listening to some incredible Irish folk music at Cafe Mokka (Finnish Country Sauna and Tubs…oh my heart still swoons for that place!), and I was almost home when I saw a neighbor I really liked. As I passed, I called out “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”. She frowned at me and said sourly,
“St. Patrick killed the fairies. I don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.”.
I felt embarrassed and did an immediate tail tuck. I was pagan, I loved fairies…how did I not know about St. Patrick? Was my neighbor right? Was I celebrating the Nazi equivalent of the unseen realms? World flipped on its head, I spent the next few days doing research…at the library. This was in the time before the internet after all. What I discovered soured me too.
Fortunately for you, you DO have the internet, and you can read about what I learned with this article. I can also give you the nutshell…St. Patrick was part of how Christianity supplanted the ancient druidic faith in Ireland. As for the serpents and driving them into the sea, we’re talking metaphor here. Serpents = pagans.
So for years I have refused to wear green on Padraig’s day, and while I would never be grumpy to someone else’s festivities, I can also say that a glass of green beer has never passed these lips. But what do I do when City Hall is illuminated as brightly as a fresh shamrock and my daughter is wondering why everyone’s talking about leprachauns all of a sudden? How do I take back this holiday for her and for our family?
An easy “in” was those afore mentioned leprachauns. I may get crotchety about pagan suppression, but faeries…well, we all know how I feel about faeries. I had come across several ideas for “Leprachaun Traps”, but couldn’t really figure out the outcome…I mean, obviously no leprachaun would be found in the morning. No, not because they don’t exist, silly. Because they’re too smart to get caught! And then I landed on the perfect idea…
A leprachaun lounge. A fairy hotel. Complete with a soft place to sleep, lots of food and drink, and even some fool’s gold. Leaving out offerings for the sidh is a long standing Irish tradition, and if they left a little something for the children in the morning, well…it wouldn’t be a total lie. Fern will never see a “real” Santa Claus, but her chances are greatly improved on seeing one of the little Good Neighbors at some point in her life.
First we laid out our literal building blocks and chose the site. Immediately, someone showed up to supervise.
Then construction began.
We went upstairs, and after dinner, there was this.
Nighttime stories included this.
Next morning, I was up before the birds. I crept downstairs, hoping to discover the house wrecked and the evidence of raccoons. A few blocks had fallen down, but otherwise everything was still intact. I had secretly bought chocolate peanut butter bites, wrapped in gold and silver foil the day before. I arranged them in a pyramid and then emptied out the containers of food, as well as the bucket of fool’s gold. In it’s place, I put fine glitter…pixie dust…that most coveted of wish granting magical items.
The kids peeked out the window above as soon as they awoke. “Hey! I see some of the blocks fell down! And the gold is gone too!”. They ran downstairs and…were a little dumbstruck that…the faeries came!
But they quickly recovered and got down to business. Sugar consumption!
And that is how we found the luck of the Irish.
How do you celebrate St. Patty’s Day? Are you having cornbeef hash this morning?