Written by Belen Gimenez
Starting as a celebration done by the Irish who emigrated to the U.S, St. Patrick’s Day is now a huge motive of celebration not only in Ireland, but also in other many parts of the world. The celebrations started as a way for the Irish to feel connected to their roots after moving to the U.S. However, nowadays, it almost seems that the celebrations happen worldwide in order to provide people of another reason to drink, drink, and drink. And drink as well.
In Paraguay, for example, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are happening too. They do not necessarily happen in the streets, but pubs and clubs make it as a theme for the parties they give or special offers they have, and people usually go, with the purpose of “celebrating” something that they don’t really know much about, as the result of globalization and its relation to the idea that the attainment of westernisation is a symbol of higher social status. Not to say the least, everyone from home or from somewhere else was jealous of me being here during this time. The usual expectation they could have of me and of the others in my group would be of drinking all day long and following the normative of wearing anything green or St. Patrick-ish. Although I did get up to see the parade and meet friends to spend the day with, I did not follow any of the “typical normatives” mentioned above, but I still had a phenomenal day. Here is why:
After three years of not seeing each other, I met with my friend Ghadheer, from Palestine. We went to high school in Canada together, and while I am here in Dublin for a semester, she went to study abroad to Derry for a semester. She came up with her group during the weekend and stayed until Wednesday. We spent most of the time catching up and talking about how we much we like Dublin and Derry. I told her about the weekend trip we did and about all of the things we have seen, and started talking about the significance of the murals.
It is very interesting to see the contrast that can be made between the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the Northern Ireland conflict. She was telling me about her experiences not only in Derry so far, but also in Palestine last summer. I am glad to say that before going to high school in Canada I did not know much about the conflict but now, after getting to meet amazing friends like Ghadeer (and other friends from Israel too) I became much more informed, and whenever I hear anything related to the conflict, I think of them.
People from a game company known as Impact Games have developed a game that deals with the conflict. The game is known as Peacemaker, and it has the intention to put individuals into either sides and make decisions that will hopefully contribute to Peace. The process of achieving Peace is obviously not an easy one, but it is definitely worth to play the game, as it informs people of the dynamics between Israel and Palestine, and it gives them an idea of what is happening.
Here is the link of the video game for the ones who would like to download it and know more about it. It’s free!:
With that said, that is how I mostly spent St. Patrick’s Day here in Ireland. It was a nice time to see a friend and to truly reconnect after so long, as well as sharing what we have learned since we last saw each other. For us, despite not having any personal relation to St. Patrick, it was indeed a day of celebration.
EXTRA: Here are some posters that bars and nightclubs in Paraguay made for the celebration of St. Patrick’s day: