Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day in England? Just a Pinch.

Cultural Note:

So, yesterday I (Jon) was in class.  After noting the date I was writing into my notes, I remarked (before we started) to my professor (an Aussie who has lived most of this life in the UK) and the other students (2 from the USA, 1 from Canada, 1 from Germany, 1 from Australia, 3 from England) that today was going to be St Patrick's Day.

There was a very minimal amount of acknowledgment about the veracity of this statement so I followed it up with an observation,
"It doesn't seem like St Patrick's Day is celebrated as much here as in the US."
(I had noticed how there isn't green everywhere and big sales on Guiness or stuff like that.  No sign of an impending party anywhere!)

Professor Barton agreed,
"You might find more of it in someplace like Liverpool where there are more Irish immigrants."

"Hmm!" I said, "That's interesting!  I had never realized how much Irish culture has impacted American culture."
(I realized at that moment that the UK has cumulatively been through hundreds of years of war with the Irish, so celebrating their nation may seem a bit odd?  I think there are still parties here but perhaps this history tempers the excitement.)

(There was a pause--as there often is in British conversation--to weigh the merits of such a statement.)
Then, my fellow American, Orrey, spoke up [correct me if I'm wrong Orrey but this is the way I remember it]...
 "I guess you don't do the pinching thing here."

Prof Barton looked a little stunned and quipped,

"We have laws about behaviour like that!"

We all had a big laugh and started class.  I'm not sure the other non-North Americans had any idea what Orrey and I were talking about!  I wonder what they think of us now??


Orrey said...

I deem this account truthful, for all intents and purposes.

allison said...

Pinching, in England, means to steal something. :)

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