posted on Mar, 18 2011 @ 10:33 PM
I have an Irish great-grandparent on my family tree. Most of the people I work with do also.
Like most "family moments," and in common with weddings and funeral, it is a "roll check" to see if you still count yourself as one of the tribe.
As people assimilate, they lose more and more contact with their original culture and its memory. Diluted the most, you end up with a single
"holiday" which is a time to call your kin observe a basically civil ceremony (lighting a tree, lighting a menorah, watching a parade) and eating or
drinking something special: turkey, beer, sake, whiskey, tamales, vodka, etc.
It ends up being a folk memory, like Halloween or St Steven's Day wren for the Irish themselves.
Incidentally, the American "Irish tradition" of corned beef and cabbage goes back, not to Ireland, but to the kosher deli shops of Manhattan---they
saw a chance to sell inexpensive food that was easy to cook for a large crowd, and sell it to immigrants who came together at holidays in one
relative's apartment where there were lots of people to feed but only a tiny kitchen. Kind of primitive take-out.