This holiday is an unusual one. It’s really quite baffling. Does anyone celebrate the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day? What, after all, is the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day? I understand there was once a man named Patrick, who drove the snakes out of Ireland. It smacks of species-ism and genocide to me. It virtually drives me to drink. So I do.
Getting liquored up is what St. Patrick’s Day is really all about – Dark Age serpent-chasers or not. Coincidentally, there also happens to be a pretty good basketball tournament that goes on each year at this time. How fortuitous. What goes better with booze than college athletics? Only one thing: gambling. And that’s the trifecta: booze, sports and gambling. Now that really brings out my true admiration for the Irish. Seriously, that sounds like a very civilized society to me – a culture that puts on no airs, but rather, a people so comfortable with those uniquely human traits that they invent a holy day to revel and bask in the glory of it all.
Imagine if more cultures celebrated that way. Consider the prohibitions on alcohol in the Muslim countries of the crisis-laden Middle East. What if they adopted the spirit-rich ways of the Irish? I mean, have you ever heard of an Irish terrorist? (Beat.) Oh, right. Never mind.
Politics aside, I do so love the holiday. It’s unique among holidays in that getting drunk is its raison d’être, and not merely a byproduct. It is unabashedly anti-puritanical (have you ever heard of an Irish Puritan? I may have you on this one). Consider that Christmas, we’re told, is supposed to be about an incarnated deity, but in practice is the driving engine of a capitalist economy. Easter is about said incarnated deity reverting back to an incorporeal form, but in practice is about – well, who knows what’s it’s about. As for Thanksgiving – football; Labor Day – going to the beach; Memorial Day – barbecues Fourth of July – barbecues with fireworks, etc., etc. But St. Patty’s? It is what it’s supposed to be about – well, except for that whole snake-hating bit, which was probably just a drunken story anyway.
And one more thing I love about St. Patrick’s Day: It’s also this editor’s birthday. Cheers.