Posted by: Erin O'Melinn | March 17, 2012

St. Patrick wants you to enjoy the city and its strangers

Despite forecasts of flurries this weekend, St. Paddy has delivered us some stunning sunshine. Get out there while you can. There are public festivities happening at Georgia and Granville, as well as in Gastown, where I saw these lively Celtic dancers and their bagpiping band in the middle of the road.

I’m a bit biased, being of Irish descent myself, but St. Patrick’s day really is an excuse for people of any background to celebrate with strangers, to dance in the streets, drink funny coloured beer at any time of the day, and crack up a conversation with anyone based on whether or not they’re wearing green.  Imagine if we didn’t need the holiday as a justification!

As the Blarney Stone already had an epic line out its doors at noon today, with folks pumped to party with anyone who would wear green and put on a ridiculous hat, it seems to me there’s quite the appetite to engage with one another. What would it take for us open up each day to people we don’t know, grab a few minutes to relax after work, strike up a short chat in the elevator?

Vancouver is becoming notorious for being one of the most individualized, aloof, and asocial (some would say just plain snobby), cities on the continent. How did that happen? And how can we make it unhappen?  Do we need more silly holidays to get us out of our shell, or can we just start smiling at people in the streets sometimes?

There is a parade and open air music tomorrow for CelticFest. You can find more details at www.celticfestvancouver.com  Your first step can be to go down and interact with some fellow revellers. Then you can ponder how to make those smiles more sustainable.

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