Erin go Bragh and Happy 150th Birthday Italy!

It's Saint Patrick's Day. Yay! People across the world will wearing green, drinking Guinness until their faces fall off, and, perhaps, eating corned beef and cabbage if they have the stomach left for it. It always seems a little strange that we celebrate a saint and bishop this way, but who am I to judge? He did, after-all, banish snakes from the island. That, at the very least, is definitely worth a pint or two.

Since my name is Erin, today always puts a little pep in my step. When I was a just a wee lass and first found out that my name did not mean "Princess of Power" like I had always hoped and, instead, was a "poetic name for Ireland," I was a little disappointed. I used to think it was just plain weird to be named after a country.

I imagined traveling to Ireland and being laughed at for having a silly name.

Then, one Saint Patrick's Day, I saw a little green flag sticking out of a big green cake.

"Erin go Bragh!" it said.

"That's my name!" I thought, which was followed closely by, "Cake! Cake! CAKE!"

I'm an only child. I look back now and realize that I had (have?) a slight delusion of grandeur. For years I thought the Air and Space Museum was named the Erin Space Museum and it was mine. So anytime I saw my name somewhere, I felt a little sense of pride. There's a whole town called Erin here in Ontario. If we had visited when I was 5, I'm sure I would have thought myself to be its little Mayor and strutted around there like a mini-Napoleon.

I digress. Back to the cake and the flag.

Erin go Bragh. Ireland Forever. Maybe my name wasn't so bad after-all.

Later the Erin go braless jokes would come. But by then I had gone through a short blip of being called Urine after a boy in my 4th grade class typed in my name on his totally cool portable, electronic dictionary and that's what popped out. Urine.

It didn't' really matter, though. Ever since I saw that flag, I've loved my name. Now, I think it's beautiful and simple. As a history nerd, I love that it's connected to a country that has an incredibly rich past. I wear it with pride and, today, with lots of green.

(As a side note: Is anyone else suddenly craving a Shamrock shake right now?)

Also: Happy Birthday Italy!

As if St. Patrick's Day wasn't enough, today is also Italy's 150th birthday.

It's National Unity Day, which celebrates the unification of Italy on March 17, 1861 when the first Italian parliament made Victor Emmanuel II the King of Italy.

Fellow italophiles out there should grab a Guinness in one hand an a glass of Brunello in the other. Add a little red and white to your outfit while you're at it. You'd better pace yourself, we've got a lot of celebrating to do.

It looks like the festivities began last night, March 16th, with the Notte Tricolore. Cities around Italy decorated with their tricolors of red, white, and green and some opened up museums and cultural sites for special late-night hours.

I've been reading a couple of articles this morning and there seems to be some feelings that the economic and political state in Italy are dampening the celebrations. This one from the BBC, for example, suggests the "champagne already feels a bit flat." Nevertheless, the festivities continue.

If I could, I'd send all of Italy some tricolor cupcakes.

On second thought, I'd rather hand deliver them and partake in another one of these:

Happy Birthday Italia! Here's to many more years and may the next be better than the last. Oh, and may I get to visit you again soon!