For 364 days a year, we're Guatemalan. On March 17th, we celebrate our Irish heritage.
As a bilingual and bicultural family, we focus on keeping the minority culture alive in our home on a daily basis--speaking Spanish, eating Guatemalan food, having a wardrobe of traje tipico, and traveling to and from Guatemala as frequently as we can.
But because we focus so much on instilling our children with their Hispanic roots, I want them to know the fabric of our family's history is actually woven with thread from all over the globe. The US is often referred to as a "melting pot," as the majority of families can trace their heritage through immigration, albeit some further back generations than others. I'm Scotch-Irish-English--my dad's side of the family is originated in England and Scotland, and my mother's side of the family is from Ireland and England. We can trade my maternal great-grandfather's family back to the Mayflower, and my maternal great-grandmother was an Irish immigrant herself.
When we first adopted my husband's youngest sister and brother from Guatemala, I took them to Ellis Island in New York to see how previous generations of immigrants entered into this country to start a new life. My own great-grandmother, Anne M. Kenyon, left 11 brothers in Ireland in 1900 when she immigrated here to the US and passed through Ellis Island with her mother, Nancy. Nancy and Anne never saw their Irish relatives again.
So although my children are only 6.25% Irish, we celebrate St. Patrick's Day every year. We wear green and orange to represent our Northern Ireland Protestant-Irish roots, we eat corned beef and cabbage to remember the struggles of our turn-of-the-century Irish-American immigrant relatives, and we tell the story of Nancy and Anne over the dinner table, to keep their story alive. And maybe one day, all of us will get to visit Ireland and meet our relatives across the pond.