As St. Patrick’s Day draws near, we thought we’d discuss the commonalities between the Irish and Mexican citizens. At first glance, you wouldn’t think they would have a lot in common. After all, Mexicans live in a partly tropical country in North America, while the Irish live on an island thousands of miles away on the northwest – and much colder – side of Europe.
But, actually, the two peoples have a lot more in common than you might think. The connections between the two groups are long and complex. Here are a few things they share.
These two groups share a common experience through immigration. They both have a long tradition of migration, mostly to the United States. The first Irish to come to America were, like the Mexicans, desperately poor and often came in illegally. They were trying to get away from their homeland, where they were being religiously oppressed, but found the same conditions here in the United States.
Like the Mexicans, the Irish were looked down upon when they first began immigrating. This was because they were Catholic, because they had an unusual accent, because they had big families, and because they liked to drink, a stereotype perpetrated by the news media. But the Irish formed their own resistance organizations – gangs and voting blocks.
About 200 Irish immigrants fought for the Mexican side during the 1846 Mexican-American War. They had joined the Army after being promised American citizenship. But during the war, they joined the Mexican side, which ultimately lost the war. The Irish survivors were court-martialed after the war and were executed. But they are treated as heroes in Mexico. There are schools and churches named after them, as well as a plaque in Mexico City honoring their service to Mexico.
- Deep Catholic roots.
Both Mexicans and Irish share this same religious tradition. The history of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico begins during the Spanish conquest of the country in 1519.
Catholics make up almost three-fourths of the entire population of Ireland. The history of the Catholic Church in Ireland is a long and complex one. It began in the 5th Century, when people like Saint Patrick brought Catholicism to Ireland.
- They both border major national powers.
Mexico shares a long border with the United States, and Ireland lies just off the coast of England. They both have to contend with nearby countries that are more affluent and powerful.
Whether or not you’re of Irish descent, there’s no better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than by eating great food. Visit a Mattito’s location near you on March 17 this year.