Like a lot of our holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is a real sham(rock). What’s going down today has no connection to St. Patrick, his body of work, or what he stood for. It’s all a bunch of Blarney.
How do I know this? Anyone with a dial-up modem can find this on Wikipedia in under 3 minutes. Today’s festivities started as a religious feast day to honor the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick (no last name), was a British missionary who became a bishop after being kidnapped and held by Irish raiders for six years.
But what’s about to go down today is total Blarney with a big side of Malarky. It’s got little to do with the life and work of a saint. Here are three bits of Blarney about St. Patrick we’ve been believing since Kindergarten.
St. Patrick Drove the Snakes Out of Ireland
No he didn’t. What are you, six? There were no snakes in Ireland! Dude was a missionary. He was one of those annoyingly earnest folks who go around evangelizing and “saving” pagans. He converted thousands to Christianity, so at best he drove the pagans out of Northern Ireland and into churches.
Snakes?! I think you’re confusing St. Patrick with The Pied Piper. He led the rats out of town. Then he led all the children out of town when he didn’t get paid for the rat job. More of a pissed-off musician turned kidnapper-for-ransom than a saint.
European fairy tales are totally effed up, aren’t they?
Shamrocks Bring You Luck
Yes, and three-leafed clovers are magically delicious too. Put down your Lucky Charms and break open a book. Shamrocks are associated with Saint Patrick because he used them to evangelize.
Yes, the three leaves helped him explain the religious concept of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Ghost) to simple-minded pagans. He used the ubiquitous plant as a metaphorical teaching tool. Nothing magical or lucky about it. Just good teaching technique.
Green Is The Color of Saint Patrick
No it’s not. It’s blue. The Order of Saint Patrick, founded in 1783, establish blue as the color to be associated with Saint Patrick. But in the 1790’s, the Irish nationalism movement adopted green as their color, and the co-opting of a religious holiday began in earnest.
The color green continued to be associated with all things Irish throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. And Saint Patrick’s day began to have nothing to do with the saint, and everything to do with Leprechauns (a derogatory depiction of Irishmen), green beer, and I’m quoting directly from Wikipedia now, “drunk driving, property damage, absenteeism, public urination and vomiting.”
So a solemn occasion gets co-opted by a secular caricature. Just like Santa Claus with Christmas, the Easter Bunny with Easter, and the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl with, well, never mind,
Here’s Why I’m All For It
What? What happened to this self-righteous rant? Why am I suddenly all for the bastardization of a solemn, religious feast day in honor of a saint?
Because we (and by we I mean you) need more partying and far less solemnity. Religious celebrations are important, but they don’t reach the masses the way a goofy parade and fountains colorized with green vegetable dye do. We (you) need more occasions to cut loose, have fun, and play hard.
Manic Impressives, and creatives of all types need to bust out of their day-to-day as often as they can. Cutting loose is important to our idea-generating process, and our positive feelings about ourselves and our prospects. A bit of Blarney is good for us.
So Enjoy The Blarney
Go ahead, drink whiskey and do a little River Dance today. Then party with the Frito Bandito on Cinco de Mayo and get your tequila from the shooter girl with the bandolero belt. And dance to the oldies and shout the horn line from “Sweet Caroline” (Bah Bah Bahhhh!) in a crowd whenever you can .
You need it, you deserve it, and it’s good for you. If you Play Hard you’ll be able to Create Hard. A bit of Blarney now and then will help.
But don’t you dare try to tell me that chocolate eggs and jelly beans come from a damn bunny…
11 thoughts on “3 Bits of Blarney About St. Patrick’s Day”
I am laughing so hard because I completely believed the snakes. I feel like a sucker because I had no idea St. Pat’s color was blue either. So glad we have you to tell it like it is, bust myths, and tell an enjoyable tale at the same time.
I look forward to what you write about the Easter bunny. Glad it’s not too far off so we can enjoy your perspective.
Since we’re Talking Healthy, turns out the whole corned beef and cabbage thing is an American interpretation of Irish culture, and not an Irish dish at all
Another interesting tidbit. Thanks again!
Can’t wait to read this to my Irish immigrant mother in law (yes she is here legally). I’m going to have fun with this!
Can’t wait to hear her reaction. Though I did read about the illegal Irish in the US during my “research”, and Enda Kenny’s plea to Trump. Seems there’s 50,000 illegal Shamrockers in the US…
That was a funny and informative piece, thanks Aram!
“drunk driving, property damage, absenteeism, public urination and vomiting” brings up some hazy yet fond memories of my youth 🙂
Thanks for the walk (stumble) down memory lane, as well as the Holiday Myth Buster information.
Just quoting Wikipedia, Greg. Not trying to out you publicly, though it seems to have worked!
Come on … can you >prove< that there were no snakes in Ireland before St. Patrick? Just because there are none now, and 97% of herpetologists say so, doesn't mean there were none then. Shamrocks are a natural snake repellent – pretty sure that's how he did it. And, no, I haven't had any green beer today.
Just call me "alternate facts" Phillip.
Glad to get a rise out of you Phillip! Now I gotta go find some Blarney stones to kiss…
Great fun with this article Aram. I certainly took your advice in the French Quarter on Bourbon street the other day. I’m now just recovered. Love how us humans, get to make stuff up, to be the fun loving Sapiens that we are!
Thanks for weighing in from New Orleans – hope the recovery isn’t too painful.
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