I have celebrated my Irish heritage for as long as I can remember.
When I was a tiny thing, my German and Austrian mother would dress me in this speck of a dress - white cotton from the waist up, with a navy and green striped skirt. It came with a skinny, kelly green belt and a matching newsboy cap with the same navy and green pattern.
The getup was only complete after she pinned a round, green, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" pin on my shoulder.
This was all an effort to humor my father and his Celtic ancestry.
Almost every year, Dad would take us kids to the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Sometimes he'd buy us a horn or a noisemaker so we could play along to the bagpipe and drum corps. I always loved seeing the men in kilts and the people dressed up as leprechauns. I think I so enjoyed the latter because I really believed they were leprechauns.
Little did I know there was no such thing as leprechauns and there was never a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
These days I get my Irish on with some musical favorites. No St. Patrick's Day is complete without some Clancy Brothers, Van Morrison, U2 and the Chieftains. These days, I like to add a few Dropkick Murphys tunes for a little edge.
Not a fan of corned beef and cabbage (I know, I should turn in my Irish card, right?), I am always content to enjoy some Irish Soda Bread, colcannon and Guinness.
Friends, Irish Car Bombs are not a traditional Celtic cocktail - they're the invention of rowdy fraternity boys who got inventive when the green beer ran out.
Green beer is not a traditional Irish drink, either, FYI.
My favorite symbol of all that is Irish is likely the Claddagh.
This traditional ring is a token of love and is sometimes used as a wedding band. Made of a pair of hands holding a crowned heart, it symbolizes love (heart), friendship (hands) and loyalty (crown). Dating back to the 17th century, the token is tied to two phrases: "With my two hands, I give you my heart and crown it with my loyalty."
I like the more concise, "Let love and friendship reign forever."
However you choose to celebrate today, may the luck of the Irish be with you!