We’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a day early, with folklorist Lisa Gabbert, who says “Over time, St. Patrick’s Day has become a very American holiday; today, it is largely a festive rite of spring—green being the appropriate spring color—characterized by the performance of “Irishness” through the use of (often stereotyped) symbols. Many people, not merely those with ancestral connections to Ireland, enjoy “being Irish” for the day, as it is a way to celebrate Irish music and culture, along with better weather.” We’ll ask why is this unofficial holiday so popular in the U.S. And we want to know your St. Patrick’s Day traditions. Do you wear green? Do you eat corned beef and cabbage? What else do you do?
Lisa Gabbert is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Folklore Program at Utah State University. Her research interests include folklore and landscape, festivity, and ritual and play in medical contexts. She teaches courses on region and landscape, folk art, children's folklore, theory, occupational folklore, and fieldwork. Her writing has appeared in a variety of journals, including the Journal of American Folklore, Western Folklore, Contemporary Legend, CUR Quarterly, Glimpse: The Art and Science of Seeing, and others. Her book, Winter Carnival in a Western Town: Identity, Change, and the Good of the Community, was published by Utah State University Press in 2011 and inaugurated the "Ritual, Festival, and Celebration" series by Jack Santino. She also has served on the Executive Board of the American Folklore Society.