Yesterday was March 17, 2016 which means, for Irish-Americans and their hangers-on that it was St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps you got drunk, maybe even with beer dyed sickly green with food coloring. You possibly vomited in public. Maybe you passed out on the Long Island Railroad. You also perchance demanded kisses from those you physically admired on the sole basis that you have (questionably) Irish blood in your veins and hoped they did as well. And, of course, you could have violated simple rules of personal space when you deemed it a good idea to pinch the bottoms of unsuspecting girls who were not wearing green (or were wearing green – I can’t remember this stupid rule). The point is, this holiday is usually celebrated in a way that is an embarrassment not only to Americans and Irish all over but also defiles the memory of whoever that white guy pictured above is. So let’s dig deeper.
Who is St. Patrick and why was he sainted, canonized and given his own day as well as two unique crucifixes (both of which look like Nazi symbols)? There are four simple Irish tales of folklore that relate to the bearded amateur botanist and his life circa the 5th century. First, there is his visual teaching using the three-leafed-clover (the most common) to highlight and explain the Holy Trinity. Armed with a crucifix and a clover, St. Patrick set out to evangelize the people of Ireland. Second, and contrary to all rational science, St. Patrick’s walking stick allegedly grew into a living tree. The third tale sees St. Patrick discussing his evangelical philosophy with Caílte mac Rónáin and Oisín (members of Fionn mac Cumhaill’s warrior band the Fianna) who, in more direct contradiction of rational thinking, somehow lived until St. Patrick’s time. Finally, the fourth legend is the most popular: St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland. Again, fossil records show that Ireland likely never had snakes but why not give the credit to good ‘ole Paddy?
There is one story that is much cooler however. Patrick, at the tender age of sixteen was supposedly stolen from his home in Great Britain, taken to Ireland and enslaved to the task of tending to animals. It took the man six years to escape and return to his parents home where he soon became a Cleric. Rather than hide, Patrick went directly back to Western Ireland to preach the gospel. Whether you believe all of this stuff, or the theory of T. F. O’Rahilly who claimed there were at least two Patricks that were being combined into one legend, is besides the point. (Although, if you take these tales as truth you might need to seek medical attention immediately). The point is, these tales all wove together to become the rich tapestry of St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland.
So that is a very brief explanation of who St. Patrick is. Let’s figure out why we celebrate in the way that we do. Well, for starters, Americans like to get obliterated. And by like, I mean dearly, crushingly adore getting as shit-faced as possible with the passion of a thousand suns. This isn’t localized to Irish-Americans. Hell, they don’t even celebrate St, Patrick’s day in Ireland with anything more than a feast and, even then, that’s only observed by the very religious Irish-Catholics. Look: I’ve been bitten by snakes in my life. It sucks. A lot. So I am completely down, despite my myriad of issues with religion (specifically Christianity and it’s variety of offshoots) to celebrate the life of St. Patrick aka the SNAKE-KILLAAHHHH. But, the guy didn’t wear green. He wore traditional robes in an off-white tone. So what’s with all the stupid wearing of green? Additionally, I was unable to dig up any research that led to a story about St. Patrick demanding kisses from people because he was Irish. That seems to be a phenomenon entirely relegated to Americans of Irish descent. Further, St. Patrick likely never pinched a woman’s posterior because she was not wearing green. I’m not saying he didn’t sexually assault anyone because Lord only knows what occurred in the 5th century. If we are disgusted by the number of sexual assaults that go unreported nowadays we would be flat out sickened at the treatment of women in the 5th and 6th century.
As someone residing in New York, St. Patrick’s day is a form of sheer fucking armageddon. Teens and college-aged kids from New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island flood the city via every bridge and tunnel they can. The Metro North, Long Island Railroad and all forms of New Jersey Transit become temporary psych wards as these inappropriately dressed faux-adults urinate on themselves, vomit on the floor and make terrible sexual decisions. Because what better way to honor St. Patrick than finger-banging your green-faced girlfriend on the LIRR? Adorned with shiny green beads, felt-top sequined hats and shirts that are meant to be humorous conversation starters, this terrifying horde of under-mature heathens proceeds to use the day as an excuse to make New York City their own private fraternity house.
Thus, it’s a day on which the true New Yorker’s must remain inside their apartments with the curtains drawn tight, only opening the door to receive their Seamless orders. Any slight misstep into the outside world could result in a pimple-faced wobbly dumbshit assaulting you and demanding, in a horrific leprechaun-ish impression of an Irish accent, that you kiss them because one grandparent, on one side of his family tree, once dated an Irishman who poured cement for the construction of the Erie Canal. It’s horrifying. Like a seven-year old’s birthday party where all the attendees are dressed as monochrome clowns you want to murder right in the face.
So. The countdown to St. Patrick’s Day 2017 begins. I suggest that rather than sexually assaulting drunk women who can no longer see straight, filling the streets with the contents of your emerald-riddled stomach and generally being a waste of breathing you merely spend time with loved ones, listen to Thin Lizzy or The Pogues [but definitely not U2] and share a few laughs over a pint. St. Patrick’s Day is not a time for you to blame your poor decision making skills on a holiday or unleash your vitriol after not getting laid upon the fair streets of this beautiful city. So remain in your towns, behave yourself, and have fun like a fucking human. Ireland is full of much more than just drunks!
*Special thanks to our resident Dæmoness for her edits and humorous inserts!