It’s almost that time of year again. With only 182 days and nights left until it is officially “St. Patrick’s Day”, so I say, “Let the preparations begin”. This fabled day has truly become a part of Americana. But I ask why do we reserve the festivities for only one day a year? Other “holidays” have elite status, or are giving a “Monday” designation to extend a weekend and are big deals in retail circles, but not St. Pat’s. It’s wasn’t even Labor Day when the stores were already starting to sell Halloween decorations, while at the same time stocking up on their Thanksgiving supplies. Did I see Christmas lights going up? Many times merchants rush the holidays for the quick buck to be made. So I humbly ask, “What about adding St. Paddy’s Day to that list”? The wearing of the green, sell some funny hats, a little green (in color) beer, and big discounts on corned beef and cabbage. Unfortunately, the corned beef and cabbage is not truly an Irish custom, but blatantly American.
I hereby request that St. Pat’s should be celebrated year ‘round on the 17th of each month. Many stories are told about the man we fondly call Saint Patrick, some stories which are true, others just legend. One of the most often told is how as a young man, later to be the Patron Saint of Ireland, he banishes the snakes from Ireland. Well, not to truly disappoint you but there were no snakes in Ireland, then or now. The origin of this story is most likely a reference to Patrick’s (his taken Christian name) attempts to drive Pagan Druids from Ireland, their symbol being a serpent. Bannavem Taberniae, his given name, was born about 385 A.D. and after being kidnapped at age sixteen and escaping his captors became a Christian missionary, probably the most successful in history. March 17, the day of his death, is celebrated both in and outside of Ireland, as both a liturgical and non-liturgical holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation. The Isle of Ireland is associated mostly with the color green. This is due in part from the abundance of three leafed shamrocks which cover the landscape. These plants were used by the Catholic ministers in their teaching the concept of the Holy Trinity to the people, hence the symbol of Irish Christianity. The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.
Today, people celebrate “the day” with parades, wearing of the green, and drinking beer. One reason St. Patrick’s Day might have become so popular is that it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring, another reason to celebrate after a long cold winter. Corned beef and cabbage with green beer is an American thing. Beef was and is a rarity in Ireland. However, beef is not a rarity in America so every, without exception, Irish tavern or inn in the United States has it on its menu. As my grandmother was fond to say “If you are lucky enough to be Irish, well, then you are Lucky enough”. Happy Half-way to Saint Patrick’s Day.
to be continued…
Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.
Today’s Listening Pleasure:Anything and Everything by THE POGUES