The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Rodriguez: St. Patrick's Day gets Hispanic twist


Helena Rodriguez

I'm thinking about papas, not papas O'chile con eggs, which I love, but about papas O'Brien, and things Irish, but with a Hispanic twist. Shamrocks have me thinking of cilantro. They've both got green leaves. And St. Patrick's Day makes me think about Cinco de Mayo.

I will explain.

I've always worn green on St. Patrick's Day, which is next Thursday. But other than that, I've never felt very Irish. Instead of putting O's in front of our words, we Hispanics put them at the end of our words, amigo. Understand-o? But besides being into loaded baked potato soup lately — Subway and Albertsons have great versions — I was thinking about some words written by my late editor, Manny Marquez. He wrote about how he identifies with the Irish, largely because of his Catholic roots. In my transplanted hometown of Hobbs, our priest had a large replica of Our Lady of Guadalupe placed at the side of the sanctuary. Many Hispanics identify with Our Lady of Guadalupe. But, besides “Lupita,” another parishioner donated an almost life-size statue of St. Patrick, another nice addition for our many Irish-blooded members.

Neither one of these statues seem out of place to me and maybe I've got a little more luck o’ the Irish in me than I thought.

Maybe Irish and Hispanics are not so different after all. I remember former Tonight Show host Jay Leno once comparing St. Patrick's Day to Cinco de Mayo, saying, and these were his words, “St. Patrick's Day is the Cinco de Mayo for white people.” Much like Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick's Day can easily turn into a beer guzzle-fest, the only difference being that the beer is green and I'm not just talking margaritas.

Besides the beer-boozing that goes on during St. Pat's, washed down, I'm sure, with plenty of Irish stew and soda bread, there is the rich spiritualism of St. Patrick, which is what it is about.

St. Patrick saw God everywhere, especially in the signature clovers which he used as a visual representation of the Holy Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — with each stem joining together to form one clover. I will leave you with one of St. Patrick's most lovable quotes, “Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”

Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at:

[email protected]


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