Skip to main content

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Okay, I'm not Irish. I'm not Catholic. I drink beer occasionally, but have never desired green beer. For some reason, however, I like the concept of St. Patrick's Day.

St. Patrick's Day is cool. It's been around for a couple hundred years, and it hasn't turned into some ultra commercialized holiday. I spent over $60 on Halloween stuff, and my kids didn't even trick-or-treat. If you're married you better have dropped a wad on Valentine's Day, or you slept on the sofa. Easter and Thanksgiving have less commercial appeal, but ask any grocery store owner the value of tradition on those days. Don't even get me started on Christmas, which now begins in late September.

Unless you own an Irish Pub, St. Patrick's Day isn't extremely commercial. You end up wearing that ugly green tie that Aunt Gertrude gave you in 1978. Some people party hard and sing drinking songs while pounding green beer, but most of us don't. Some cities have parades, particularly those with high Catholic populations in the Northeast, but the parades aren't televised beyond local channels.

It got me thinking, wondering actually, what made St. Patrick worthy of his own Day? I know why Martin Luther King deserves a Day. Washington and Lincoln have to share a Day. St. Valentine invented little folded paper hearts, so I guess that deserves a Day. Columbus got a Day for being very bad at nautical navigation. Jesus gets a couple days each year, but has to share them with an egg-hiding rabbit and a fat chimney sweep in a red velour suit. But what makes a snake charmer from Ireland deserve a day.

So I Googled St. Patrick, and this is what popped up.

Patrick was this dude who was born about 385 A.D., back when clothing was brown and grass was green. He wasn't even a Christian, he was pagan.

So you're an incredibly rich guy back in the day, which only means that you own a horse and a roof that doesn't leak, much. But you need help to sustain your wealth, so you get a bunch of other guys with horses together, and start the recruiting process. Rather than running classified ads in the Sunday paper, you simply ride into town and snatch six or ten strong teenage boys, and make them slaves.

This is what happened to Patrick. During this time he prayed to God, a lot. So would you. Half a dozen years go by, and Patrick (who, by the way, was named Maewyn at the time) escaped. He figured God was his only friend, so he went to stay at God's house, specifically a monastery in Gaul. It was in Gaul that he adopted the Christian name, Patrick.

There he studied over a decade and eventually was appointed the second bishop of Ireland, not the first bishop as many people believe. His personal mission was to convert as many Irish pagans to Christianity as possible. He was incredibly successful, starting churches and schools throughout Ireland.

There are lots of stories about St. Patrick, many of them lore that improve with each telling, and many others that are just complete fiction.

He didn't chase snakes from Ireland. There is no evidence that snakes have ever existed on the Isle. Stories of snakes probably were symbolic of pagans being converted to Christianity.

The Shamrock is a symbol that many attribute to St. Patrick. It's said he used the three leaf version to explain the Holy Trinity. This story could be true, but there isn't a way to prove or dispute it. I'll choose to believe this one.

It's been said that he wore green, but that is unlikely at that time in history. More likely is that the date of St. Patrick's Day is in late spring, symbolized by green.

The date itself, March 17th, is reportedly the date he died (in 461 A.D.) but there is significant doubt as to the year he died, let alone the month and date. More likely is that the date is around the time of the removing of the "cold stone". One of St. Patrick's duties as Bishop would have been to remove the "cold stone" from the river, indicating when it was safe to plant crops. In agricultural societies, this day would have been highly anticipated and celebrated.

I'm not sure if Patrick truly deserves his own Day outside Ireland, but as long as I'm not required by etiquette to do anything beyond wearing green once a year, I'll not object. I look awesome in green anyhow!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Friday Funnies: Funny Retail Signs

Well, it's Friday so maybe you're planning to do a little shopping tonight. Watch carefully, and you might find some entertaining retail signage such as these. Here's a collection of funny retail signs from around the globe, mostly from the good old USA.

If you're planning to stay overnight, make sure you have a shilling and a few extra pence if you need to stable your horse. Here are the Rules of Inn.


After Christmas wrapping paper goes on sale, and so does Rapping paper, apparently.


Special offers are everywhere! You can get two drinks for the price of two! Don't worry, after four you won't notice how much you're spending anyhow.


Sometimes no caption is necessary.


But I'm so hot.  I'm sure everyone inside doesn't mind looking at me.


I didn't even bother going inside.  Clearly I would violate several of these store rules.


This was seen on a Dairy Queen drive through.  I always keep my secret ice cream money in my underwear.


You should pay a…

More Realistic Anniversary Gift Traditions

New Anniversary Gifts Destined to become Traditional My wife and I have been married for 20 years today. Over the past 20 years I made efforts each year to observe the traditional anniversary gifts. Some of them are certainly more difficult than others, and many of them are hard to find gift worthy in the modern age.
Therefore, I offer you a modern take on anniversary gifts. How many of these will become traditional?
First Anniversary – The Ramen Noodle anniversary. Let’s face it, you blew $30,000 on the wedding, and your student loan debt hasn’t gone anywhere. Share a Cup O’ Noodles. Eat with chopsticks on the floor because you can’t yet afford a couch.
Second Anniversary – The Puppy Anniversary. She’s been looking at you with those eyes that say she wants to start a family, but you just bought a new couch. Get her a puppy instead.
Third Anniversary – The Kinky Lingerie Anniversary. Leather, silk or lace can re-fire the engines after a year of flannel pajamas that smell like the puppy,…

An open letter to Emmanuel Macron, President of France

Dear Pres. Macron,

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has been invited for the celebration of Bastille Day, a day for celebrating democracy and independence of the French people.

As a citizen of the United States, I encourage you to revoke the invitation. Donald Trump does not represent the vast majority of the American people. As you have stated publicly, if the United States is not going to support science, you have offered US scientists the option of emigrating to France for the continuation of their studies on climate change.

Additionally, Donald Trump has made his nationalist and blatantly racist feelings known on multiple occasions, again something I know that you personally find offensive.

The majority of Americans would support the decision for France to revoke his invitation. Citizens of the United States need to take responsibility for removing their country from a position of influence on the world stage. Our previous president, Barack Obama, strived to be a …