Early Migration To America
Gorta Mor or the Great Hunger in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 lead to the emigration of a huge number of Irish immigrants to America. This famine was the worst that occurred in Europe due to crop destructions caused by blight, a disease that destroys both the leaves and the edible parts of a potato plant which was the staple food in Ireland at that time. This hunger, also commonly referred to as the “Irish Potato Famine” brought these people to different parts of the US. Mostly in Boston and Philadelphia. And since their population comprises a large percentage in the country, they left a great influence on the American culture by contributing to its customs, diversity and even language.
America’s Irish Way of Celebrating
Saint Patrick’s Day
Nothing is much more obvious than how America celebrates St. Patrick’s Day which is held on March 17, annually. It is a religious and cultural feast of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Although it is not a legal holiday in the United States, it is widely recognized and observed by many Americans through numerous parades, wearing and public displays of the colour green which resembles a ‘shamrock’ which is used as a national emblem of Ireland and a day of abundant alcohol consumption. Americans gather with friends who go for a pint and party. Other cities complete this day with marching bands and throwing big parties with food and drinks.
Boston is the ideal choice for celebrating this event because local breweries and nightclubs often have plenty to offer usually weeks before St. Patrick’s Day. This cultural and religious celebration might be in many ways influences, and goes completely with Americans’ love of partying and of a merry-go-round.
For Irish culture, pubs are an integral part of the community and the people’s social life. Many American pubs date back from the early 1840s during the Irish emigration to the United States and had long been places of enjoyment and socializing since then. These were places where people enjoyed their food and drinks while being entertained by lively music both traditional and not up until the present time. In fact, as of 2011, there were 66, 615 establishments in the industry.
Traditional pubs were not focused on alcohol drinking alone. Public houses and bars were accompanied by Irish traditional music, or lively music to entertain people of different ages as well. And from these, came to life the modern ‘clubbing’ which is widely more popular to young people nowadays.
A US study from 2002-2012 by researchers of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), found that over a period of time, there is a significant increase in the number of binge-drinking among people from 18-25 years old. Just like any other cultures merged with another one, Irish customs and traditions remarkably affect how people in America live as much as how they influence Irish people to have their own way of life that created the modern society and the behaviour of people living in the present.