St. Patrick's Day began as a solemn Roman Catholic observance for its namesake, a fifth century missionary and bishop in Ireland. The faithful would honor St. Patrick in prayer at church or at home. During the late 18th century, Irish immigrants in America organized parades to honor their heritage. Celebrations have evolved to also include more secular events, paying tribute to Irish culture through parties, parades, food and music. Let's explore some tidbits associated with St. Patrick's Day and how they may tie in with South Dakota industries and affect pots of gold throughout the state.
Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day
The percentage of Americans who claim ties to the Emerald Isle may rise on St. Patrick's Day; as for the other 364 days of the year, 10.9 percent of U.S. residents (34.1 million) claimed Irish ancestry in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey. This is more than seven times the population of Ireland (4.6 million according to the Ireland Central Statistical Office).
In the U.S., Irish trails only German as the most frequently reported ancestry.
Coming in just above the national average, 11.3 percent of South Dakotans claimed Irish ancestry. Only German and Norwegian ancestry claims were higher. The map below, created by the U.S. Census Bureau, illustrates the percentage of U.S. residents by state who claim Irish ancestry.
(Get the U.S. Census Bureau's Irish ancestry map in Adobe .pdf format.)
Kiss Me, I'm Irish
In anticipation of the fulfillment of the "Kiss Me" request, revelers may want to stop by a South Dakota retailer for lip balm, lipstick or lip-gloss and other cosmetic/beauty essentials.
Cosmetics, beauty supplies and perfume stores
Originally the shamrock was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland that heralded the return of spring. Prepare for the arrival of spring by checking out what the nursery, garden and farm supply stores have to offer.
Nursery, garden and farm supply stores
In addition to the shamrock, another popular plant/flower is the lime green chrysanthemum. Either one will add a little green to your day as well as to South Dakota's florists' and nurseries' coffers.
Nursery and florist merchant wholesalers
"The Wearing of the Green"
This Irish street ballad lamented the repression of those who supported the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The reference to "green" in the song can mean the color or a shamrock. Even before the outcries for Irish independence, the shamrock was associated with St. Patrick. According to legend, he used the young clover as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity. Stories from the early 18th century tell of Irish people wearing shamrocks on March 17 in his honor. The shamrock and the color green have become the most well-known symbols of the holiday.
Take heed - those who forgo the green fashion fad might get pinched. If your wardrobe lacks the requisite green, or you just want an excuse to shop, stop by one of South Dakota's many clothing stores to find what you need for this St. Patrick's Day.
In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were minor figures who made and mended shoes for other fairies. South Dakota has workers (but no known leprechauns) employed in the footwear and leather goods repair industry.
Footwear and leather goods repair
In honor of the mischievous mythical folks' profession, you could splurge on a pair of shoes.
Leprechauns were also notorious for using of trickery to safeguard their treasures. Celebrate the day by purchasing a little gold, emerald or other Irish-inspired jewelry to add to your own treasure.
Jewelry merchant wholesalers
Pubs and Grub
Many celebrate with friends at local watering holes. If you go, celebrate responsibly.
Drinking places, alcoholic beverages
You could also explore restaurants in the area to see which ones may be offering Irish specials.
Restaurants and other eating places
You could also prepare an Irish feast. One dish you might find on your Irish culinary journey is corned beef and cabbage. It's an Irish-American immigrant variation that substitutes corned beef for the traditional Irish bacon (similar to Canadian bacon) to cut costs. According to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), 50 percent of South Dakota farms raise beef cattle; the state ranked eighth in cattle and calves (beef and dairy) production in 2011. Using bacon would provide old-school Irish flair. The SDDA reports 3 percent of South Dakota farms raise hogs; the state ranked 11th in hog production.
"When Irish Eyes are Smiling"
Music is an integral part of St. Patrick's Day. Stop by an area musical instrument and supply store to pick up some Irish ballads or other folk tunes. If you're feeling ambitious, maybe they can order a set of bagpipes, fiddle or tin whistle (type of flute).
Musical instrument and supplies stores
Note: The numbers of employees and establishments are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), based on workers covered by unemployment insurance in the state. It excludes self-employed and unpaid family workers. Establishments are privately owned. The data are the annual averages for 2012. An ND indicates the data does not meet Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or state agency disclosure standards.
Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Labor Market Information Center and the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation!
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