BY DYLAN DACOSTA
What did you do yesterday?
As if anyone even needs to ask – we all celebrated St. Patrick’s Day the only way that we know how; we all got falling-over drunk.
We have a faint recollection of green decorations, green attire and green beer – too much green if you ask me. We drank, we partied and for one day we all pretended that we were Irish.
But is “celebrating” St. Patrick’s Day in this way really Irish? Is this how it’s really supposed to be?
The answer is no.
According to www.st-patricks-day.com, the day was intended to pay homage to Saint Patrick (big surprise) for his feats in Ireland over 1,500 years ago.
He spent 12 years training in France at a monastery where he eventually became a bishop, and then, with the blessing of the Pope, he returned to Ireland and traversed the country establishing monasteries, schools and churches, all the while spreading Christianity to the Irish people. For 20 years he did this, getting arrested a few times in the process, and by the time of his death he was a legendary figure in Irish culture.
And that’s what St. Patrick’s Day, held on the anniversary of the day he died, truly celebrates – the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
The shamrock plastered across every novelty shirt isn’t just a pointless symbol. It is said that Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity, in reference to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Legend says that Patrick led venomous snakes residing in Ireland out of the country and into the sea where they met their deaths.
Although probably fictitious, since Ireland has never had snakes, the legend adds to the celebration of the day. Here in North America though, we seem to care little for the history.
Instead we’ve turned the day into a commercial celebration where we buy tacky decorations, those awful “kiss me I’m Irish” shirts, and drink beer until we fall over.
Leave it to North Americans to turn a day with an interesting history and meaningful celebration into nothing more than a beer fest and another excuse to get drunk with friends.
It’s not even that there’s anything wrong with consuming alcohol to celebrate a day, because the Irish sure do it too. But that is all the day has become to us.
St. Patrick’s is a day to drink in our culture, no more, no less.
So while you recover from your hangover, just remember that you didn’t really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you just found an excuse to drink green beer.