It’s time yet again to dig deep in the closet for that one vomit green shirt to ward off unwanted touching from the weird kid in English class. St. Patrick’s Day is here, and before the celebration begins there are a few things that everyone should know about this holy holiday.
Hi, I’m Saint Patrick, the Roman slave of Ireland, here to banish your snakes.
A long time ago, a 16-year-old Roman boy, minding his own business, was ripped from his homeland by a bunch of Irish pirates and sold into slavery. Once he escaped his six years of traumatizing enslavement and returned home, he received a vision and decided it would be a good idea to voluntarily return to the country that enslaved him to spread Christianity to those nasty Pagan pirates. After some miraculous adventures like bringing Christianity to Ireland (after the religion had already been established there) and driving snakes from the country (which never had snakes to begin with), the Irish people decided that this God-fearing, Roman-born ex-slave would be the perfect choice to be the country’s patron saint. And so, Saint Patrick was created.
You know what this religious holiday needs? Alcohol.
Every March 17th Roman Catholics gathered around a dinner table to give thanks and celebrate the great works of Saint Patrick, the Roman slave of Ireland. As this was a solemn day, pubs across Ireland would close as to not distract from the religious holiday feast. In America, however, Irish Americans would take to the streets in huge parades and imbibe countless alcoholic beverages in order to fight discrimination and show the power of the Irish voting block called the “green machine.” Yay Saint Patrick! Once Ireland saw all the fun Saint Patrick’s Day could be with alcohol poisoning, pubs remained open on this holy day beginning in the 1970’s.
That looks green, right?
In deciding the best way to celebrate this holy day, merry-makers took all of Saint Patrick’s original symbols…and threw them out the window. The traditional Saint Patrick’s Blue turned green during the fight for Irish independence and became inextricably linked to everything Irish. Then, the three-leafed Shamrock this Saint is said to have used to illustrate the Holy Trinity was turned into a symbol of luck that kids would hunt during recess once a year. Finally, to truly encapsulate the meaning of Christianity, people added Leprechauns to the holiday. Nothing says Catholicism quite like a tiny, red-haired person sliding down a rainbow and giving marshmallows disguised as breakfast cereal to children.
No. Really. I’m 1/32 Irish!
After all the silly religious stuff was removed from Saint Patrick’s Day, Americans did what they do best and adopted offensive traditions to have another excuse to make money and drink alcohol. But it’s okay because Saint Patrick’s Day is a celebration of all the aspects of a rich Irish culture: drinking, the color green, and faerie folk. On top of that, there are 10% of Americans who claim Irish ancestry. So…it’s totally cool to make fun of Ireland for a day…or weekend…or month.
In the name of Catholicism and Saint Patrick, continue polluting rivers with green dye, drinking an excessive amount, calling red-haired people Leprechauns, and demanding kisses from strangers on account of your alleged Irish ancestry. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!