Poetry Circle: The Troll that Shakes the Barley

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In keeping with my last post about soda bread, here’s a poem that seemed fitting to share on such a holiday as this. This poem began quite randomly. A box of barley went missing in the apartment. Poof. Gone. I searched everywhere to no avail. As no one had eaten it and it’s not like someone would break in just to steal half a box of barley, I jokingly blamed the trolls. I’m a mythology major, I do that. Continue reading

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Breaking Bread: A Mythology Major’s Musings on Culture, Gender, and Baked Goods

I decided to try my hands at soda bread this week, since I didn’t know what else to do for St. Patrick’s Day, except my yearly rant about all the things we get wrong about St. Patrick’s Day, how St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish, how nobody in America seems to know the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland or even Ireland from Scotland, and how St. Brigid was more important for most of Irish history anyway. I vote we all get together on St. Brigid’s Feast Day and eat butter. Lots of butter. So much butter.

But I’m really tired of harping on that every year. So, instead, I put on my Irish/Irish American folk music Pandora station and press-ganged my boyfriend into helping me make soda bread. Continue reading

Dead Tongues Tell No Tales

This post originally appeared on Bound and Gagged, the banned books blog I run. However, since Irish History Month is upon us, I thought I’d share it here.

Bound and Gagged

IrishReadsToday is St. Patrick’s Day. For many around the world, especially here in America, that means shamrock Mardi Gras beads, pub crawling, and a drunken bacchanalia in the name of one’s Irish heritage. This is largely due to the fact that the Irish, whether because of famine, occupation, or genocide, are a diasporic people with descendants scattered worldwide. However, it is a pet peeve of many how little people claiming Irish heritage know about Ireland, its history, its politics, or its impact on the world. For example, while getting feedback on a story set in Ireland, hardly anyone in my college level writing workshop group knew the difference between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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No War on Christmas, Just a Lot of Canons

I wrote this article last year on the banned books blog and wanted to share it, since it may actually be more relevant here. Half a look at how Christmas traditions change and adapt, this post also includes a list of the books, fairy tales, music, and movies that are part of my Christmas canon. Feel free to share yours in the comments.

Bound and Gagged

As a Mythology & Religion major, I think an awful lot about tradition and ritual; why they change, how they change, and how they are kept alive. And there is no time of year when this is more prevalent than the veritable smorgasbord of winter holidays around this time each year. Here the effects of cultural exchange, cultural diffusion, industrialization, and globalization on tradition and folk culture are clearest. For the anthropologically or historically inclined it’s, well, it’s like Christmas morning.

Yet this time of year is also when tensions over said traditions run highest, if the annual “War on Christmas” tirades, arguments in the media over the ethnic background of Santa Claus, concerns that the mainstream American vision of Santa Claus has eclipsed the German Sinter Klaus (Sinterklaas?), many an article on interfaith or Jewish parenting websites regarding the Christmas tree or Channukkah bush, and my Facebook feed are anything to go by. Having given…

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