When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Matt Petit, a US visa officer working in the consular section in Chennai, is spending St. Patrick’s Day in India. But why should that stop him from doing all the things he'd normally do back home? Petit decided to celebrate his Irish roots in a brilliantly desi way.
Dressed up in a green kurta and a white veshti, an unstitched garment worn by Indian men in this part of the country, the visa officer drew a shamrock, a plant that is the national symbol of Ireland, in the form of a Kolam. A Kolam, widely known as a Rangoli in some parts of India, is an auspicious art form to mark festivities. A Kolam is generally made by using rice flour.
Legend says that St. Patrick used the shamrock to visually illustrate the concept of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in Christianity.
As soon as the US Consulate General Chennai shared the photos on its Facebook page, a comment followed: "That Kolam is beautiful!"
In the FB post, Matt explained why he decided to celebrate the day in an Indian way.
“Growing up, St. Patrick’s was always a special occasion in our home. I wanted to do something special this morning to celebrate. Everybody is impacted by their ancestral roots, which comes out in the foods they eat and the festivals they celebrate. We are also affected by the places we go and the people we meet. India will always be a part of me. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!"
Clearly India is a big part of his life. Besides speaking Spanish, German and Russian, Matt also speaks Tamil and Hindi. He lives in Chennai with his wife, Abbie, and they have an adopted Indian street-dog, Prithvi.
Saint Patrick's Day is held on 17 March every year to mark the death anniversary of Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland.
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