I’m not even a drop Irish but, back in 1995, I had the pleasure of visiting about a dozen beautiful cities in Ireland, and I adored the experience. Additionally, I happened to marry a man who has a thread of Irish heritage, a love of Celtic relics, and an addiction to corned beef, so we always have a family celebration on St. Patrick’s Day!
Every year at this time, I also remember a guy I knew when I was in college whose parents were strongly Irish. He sent me a funny greeting card one year that said, “You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. After all, you can celebrate Halloween without being a pumpkin.” LOL.
Thinking about that always reminds me that we can—and do—have “adoptive” holidays, whether they were originally a part of our background or not. We can also have special days of celebration that might not make it onto the calendar as an “official” national or bank holiday, but we look forward to them and cherish their traditions nonetheless.
For those of us who inhabit Austen World, Jane’s birthday on December 16th springs immediately to mind. I have more fun planning little festivities in her honor than I do for my own birthday. (Plus, JA’s big day is my annual excuse to make English trifle…with a few extra splashes of sherry!) I know all of you here understand the fun of that mid-December holiday 🙂 .
I have personal celebrations during the year, too. Like every April 21st, which was the day in 2008 when I got “the call” that aspiring writers always dream about…the one where my agent told me that my debut novel, According to Jane (the story of a woman who has the ghost of Jane Austen in her head giving her dating advice), had just sold to Kensington. Seven years ago next month—lucky seven!—I know for sure that I’ll celebrate that milestone day at home with my family, if only with some tasty carryout and a little ice cream.
But what about all of you? What special holidays do you or your family have during the year, aside from the major ones printed on the calendar? Any extra celebrations that you look forward to? I’d love to hear about them, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, whether your family hails from Ireland or not. May the luck of the Irish be with you all!
By the way, for those of you who share in the Outlander fandom with me, you’ll understand my excitement about this: The Southern Kentucky Book Fest (SOKY) will be in Bowling Green, KY on Saturday, April 18th, and the fabulous Diana Gabaldon will be headlining the event!! (She speaks about all things Outlander from 9 – 9:50am Saturday.) I was fortunate to be invited to attend as an author and a panelist this year, so I’ll get to be at the authors’ reception with Diana and the other writers on Friday night, on the Contemporary Romance author panel the next morning (11 – 11:50am on Saturday the 18th, along with Elizabeth Bevarly, Toni Aleo, Pamela Hearon, CL Parker, and Kim Law — here’s the full presentation schedule), and a part of the conference book signing, too. The SOKY Book Fest is FREE to the public (!!), so if you are planning to attend, please stop by and say hello to me. I know it’ll be a fun-filled weekend for book lovers!