Well, here we are at the one day of the year where “everyone is Irish”. St. Patrick was the Bishop of Ireland back in the 6th century. There is much that is legend and much that is fact regarding his work and time in Ireland. (If you want to know more about that, just do a quick GOOGLE search). As it turns out Ancestry.com tells me that I am 5% Irish. Yet, I have never been one to take on the “wearing o’ the green”. In fact, I remember as a young child in New Haven, Connecticut being taken by my English born mother to the St. Patrick’s day parade dressed in orange, not green. I was told that the green was for the Irish who were Roman Catholic and the orange was for the protestant Irish. Is this true? I don’t know, except it was true for me in that moment.
What makes St. Patcik’s day so engaging by the masses? Does everyone somehow reach within and find there some aspect of the Irish soul? How much does the average person wearing green today understand what it was to be Irish? How much is known about the suffering and hardship that continually worked to erode the spirit of the Irish person? That very hardship bringing many an Irish person literally to drink to ease the burden of their soul? It seems to me that this is precisely what we celebrate today …. the drinking. I imagine that today rivals the retail “black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving day in the US, for establishments with liquor licenses.
Then there is the corned beef and cabbage. Reportedly, the traditional food for this day in Ireland was actually lamb or bacon. You can read more about that here: is corned beef Irish? (Turns out what we today call corned beef is actually a Jewish brisket!)
So today we joyfully celebrate the suffering soul experiences of an entire group (race?) of people. We don’t celebrate their accomplishments. It often seems as if our first image that comes to mind when we think of an Irish man is often a drunken man. Today, we celebrate a parody. But, I acknowledge that we live in a world that has little interest in truth and everything is about perception and profit. So, if we perceive that to be Irish is to to be a happy drunk, then let’s all go have a pint and help boost the profits of the local pub!