Dear Pat & Mike: I’m feeding communion wafers to my pet snake.
Just kidding. She doesn’t like them.
Here’s why I’m not celebrating today:
Saint Patrick’s Day can be rough on a red-headed Irish guy who isn’t Christian, doesn’t drink alcohol, and has a modicum of shame.
Let’s go out tonight and what shall we experience? Plastic shamrock hats, green beer, bad “lucky charms” accents, and waking up the next morning with a hat full of vomit next to your bed and a feeling like the I.R.A. just set off a bomb in your head.
But I’m not a drinker, so I dodge that aspect. What I do get is all my co-workers talking like Darby O’Gill, adding “Mc-” to their surnames and continually berating me for not wearing green. I even still get pinched on occasion.
And I’m just not into playing along this year. I have taken off my “Kiss me – I’m Irish” button and replaced it with one that reads: “Don’t kiss me – you’re an idiot.”
Yeah, I know they mean well, and I know the Irish propensity for fun, rollicking good times, and all things ‘blarney’. But St. Patrick’s day isn’t about celebrating a culture – it’s about mocking one. And, even if the ridicule is unconscious, I’m calling foul.
Do I sound like an evangelical Christian throwing earnest bricks into the Grand Canyon of Christmas? Maybe. And there is a parallel. See, what Patrick did in Ireland was to convert the Irish from Paganism to Catholicism. (Willingly, in most cases.) And seeing as I am a witch, you might see how I have a hard time busting out the “yippee!” on Pattie’s birthday.
And here’s a short quiz for you:
1) What Nationality was Patrick?
- Patrick was English, not Irish, and hardly the first (or last) Englishman to cause havoc in Eire.
2) Which Country has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol?
- Don’t drive after dark, or ski, around those wacky Luxembourgians.
3) Besides his Missionary work, what else was Saint Patrick known for
- Driving the snakes out of Ireland. This is, of course, a myth, but the facts are interesting enough. What is meant by this story though is that Pat drove out the mythological snake; that is, the Druid symbol for Intelligence and Fertility (as in the non-patriarchal, non-monogamous branch of the Fertile tree).
4) Okay then, what country has the second highest per capita consumption of alcohol?
- That honor goes to the Hungarians, and not only when Zsa Zsa Gabor is out of rehab.
5) When was Pat canonised as Saint Patrick?
- (*Shhhh*) Keep it to yourself: Patrick was never formally canonised by a Pope. So he’s not a real saint.
6) What is the national symbol of Ireland?
- It’s not the shamrock – It’s the harp. Really. Look at the front of a Guinness can. (yeahyeah, cliche alert. *Sigh*)
7) When is Patrick’s deathday?
- No one knows for sure. The Orthodox Church just found it advantageous to plock Pat down on top of Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, the time when those nutty Druids were celebrating Intelligence and Fertility. (See Christ’s birthday, and the pagan rite of Yule, not to mention how Ostara got hijacked into becoming Easter.)
So, please, go drink a bucket of green beer tonight. Pretend you made it all the way through “Finnegan’s Wake”. Talk like the ‘lucky charms’ leprechaun until you puke in your plastic shamrock hat.
But tomorrow morning let’s all sit down and plan some other holidays that can ridicule the cliches of some other countries; holidays that reduce a proud people, rich in heritage and culture, down to an excuse to get plastered.
And then maybe you’ll understand how I feel.
I am proudly Irish every day of the year. So you can keep your day for St. Patrick. I’ll stay with Ireland Forever.
Éire go Brách.