Saint Patrick’s Day is when we laud the memory of a great saint from 1600 years ago: The man who escaped slavery in Ireland yet returned there to establish monasteries, churches, and schools for the purpose of bringing the message of Christ to the land. (Apparently, he also drove all the snakes away, which is certainly a bonus.) Naturally, this is why, on the 17th of March, Americans sign up for church service projects, hone up their street preaching game, and search for pesky reptiles to dispatch.
Okay, today it’s more of a secular brouhaha—a celebration of all things Irish. (Nice of Pat, though, to lend his name to all of it.) The fact that the festival has strayed a bit from the original (including the fact that blue was the color traditionally associated with St. Patrick), doesn’t preclude it from being a very special observance, if not an actual holiday. Let’s keep this thing going.
Since St. Patrick’s Day isn’t tied to a particular day of the week, it provides occasion 57% of the time to break up your work week with a night of public beer consumption. And if you don’t usually drink brewskis, it’s an excuse to drink green beer, which is an entirely different beverage.
St. Patty’s is also an opportunity to wear a not-so-fashionable color, even to go monochromatic, and maybe enter yourself into a parade. Most of us like to dress up, whether a hat or special t-shirt, or a full costume. I’m not a big fan of all that but prefer instead to be smug in the knowledge that I’m concealing a smart, spandex-polyester green brief.
Speaking of the green, the idea from folklore—American folklore—is that green makes you invisible to leprechauns, so you avoid getting pinched. Leprechauns—such an impish lot!
The whole mystic, Celtic, druid thing is a draw for some, somewhat like the appeal of all those Halloween antics. Ironically, St. Patty’s Day presents a covert opportunity to cast a spell or two on a Christian, perhaps to disrupt all their pesky glorifying of God and whatnot. All under the cover of a popular celebration—and not quite as concerning as those naked dance rituals at the solstices.
But in general, It’s fun to pretend to be Irish, to channel some Notre Dame on an annual basis. It’s also an enjoyable accent to put on. In fact, I find it brilliant that the actual Irish take advantage of their right to do it all the time. They really are good at it. Also, pretending to be Irish goes beyond the lilting speech. It’s also about pulling that extra pint or getting into a brawl. Sure, if you can land a good punch you might get booked, but everyone who’s wearing green gets released before the night is done—and often in time to head back to Connor’s for a nightcap.
Yeah, so let’s keep St. Patty’s going strong—as with those other profoundly spiritual dress-up occasions: All Hallows’ Eve, Saint Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter. Celebrate religiously, my friends!
Copyright © 2023 Richard Berndt – All Rights Reserved.