By Sarah Sunday
In the fifth century, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, infamously banished snakes into the sea and righteously doused Christianity over the pagan country, evangelizing thousands. His name has been made known internationally and, following his death on March 17 in the year 461, has been memorialized and celebrated with greatly-known holiday St. Patrick’s Day.
As the years have ticked on, however, the true intent of the holiday has been sanded down and given a new connotation, and with that has come a newer set of celebratory rituals. It has become less and less about religion, and increasingly more about getting smashed at your local pub or bar, especially in the United States. Once a celebration of Christian triumph, it is now, arguably, a glorified booze-fest. Landing in the middle of Lent, St. Patrick’s Day became the one day during the religious fasting period where the Irish could throw their penance out the window and partake in any drinking they pleased, even if they committed to keep their hands off the beer. This led to greater drinking excesses and far more booze. If you’ve only got one day, you have to make it count, right?
As a Hallmark card country, the US has taken the holiday to secular levels of grandeur, marketing holiday gimmicks such as pots of gold, four-leaf clovers and ghastly shades of green. The New York St. Patty’s Parade is the largest in the world, drawing millions to march and watch, decked out in kilts, riverdance get-ups, and lots of green (someone told me recently that it’s the hardest color to pull off).
Beware of those wishing to navigate the streets New York this weekend, because you will need luck to combat the intoxicated crowds. Have fun to those hopscotching over the puddles of regurgitation the morning after. You can watch from your high horse and judge the disorderly, or you can join in on this wonderful secular holiday - it’s a grand excuse to get trashed in jolly adult fun. Godspeed, drinkers. And don’t forget to thank St. Patty; because he so valiantly fought for Christianity, you have the right to a good, cold beer, green food coloring included.