Celebrating culture and heritage is plenty of fun for Irish families when they get together for a reunion. Ireland has a rich history of arts, music, dance, mythology, and cuisine. By introducing some of these aspects in a family reunion, it is a wonderful way of passing down parts of one’s heritage to the next generation. Many people in the U.S. have Irish ancestry. Even if you have not been to Ireland, there is still plenty you can do to celebrate the culture.
Irish song and dance have become well-known in the last couple of decades thanks to the award-winning touring show, Riverdance. There are several types of dances, including set dancing, ceili, and step dancing. Although some require training, it is nevertheless fun to try. There are several feast days celebrated in Ireland, ranging from ancient pagan feasts to modern Catholic-influenced ones. Each has their own rituals, which can also vary based on the family.
Although potatoes have come to be a bit of an Irish stereotype, they are usually joined by several other foods. Some of the most common dishes include boxty (potato pancakes), Irish soda bread, and shepherd’s pie. Irish food tends to be substantial, wintery fare that is hearty without any pretenses. Today there are several variations on Irish food, especially in America. For example, when early Irish immigrants introduced the meal of green cabbage with bacon here, the bacon was primarily used because it was inexpensive. Later on families added corned beef instead. Today many people still eat corned beef with green cabbage, assuming that it is the traditional dish. Another example is the famous Irish coffee. Although most restaurants serve it with a dollop of whipped cream on top, the original version simply had liquid cream poured into the drink. Whatever your preferences might be, it is the variations that help Irish cuisine to evolve!
Most people are familiar with the image of the Irish leprechaun. While leprechauns do figure in Irish folklore, there are also a number of other magical characters that appear in stories. Ancient Irish mythology, on the other hand, used more foreboding characters. They included various gods, goddesses, fearsome warriors, and so on. Irish folklore is a lively affair that makes for a fascinating session of group story-telling complete with fantastic graphic t-shirts.
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