March 17, 2009

Yeah, Whatever

Mike is just as Irish as I am Welsh. We may hail from different islands and he may know more about Ireland than I do Wales (not anymore!) but we are equally Celtic. I didn't know about Saint David's Day until last year when I went on a tirade about how stupid I think the American celebration of Saint Patrick's Day is. I was/am sick of people pretending to love Ireland when they don't give a shit about Ireland. What they give a shit about is getting pissed first thing in the morning and staying pissed the rest of the day. All while wearing green. Because that's what Ireland is all about.

My first issue with the celebration of St. Patrick's Day is an issue I have with the celebration of any saint's feast day- Catholics were and are persecuted in America for believing in and praying to saints. Other denominations believe praying to saints in lieu of God is heretical and blasphemous. Catholics would get beaten up because of it. So why would anyone and everyone celebrate saints' feast days? To get drunk or presents or drunk. Oh, you like beer but don't believe in saints? By all means, celebrate! (I am very well aware of the fact that many Irish are Protestant and therefore don't believe in saints but probably celebrate today as a heritage day- not a saint day per say.)

America has a long history of hating the shit out of Irish immigrants. Yes many, many Americans have Irish ancestry and that's cool, great even. However, there are probably just as many German Americans and Italian Americans as there are Irish Americans but we don't go around celebrating Saint Boniface or Saint Joseph to the same degree. And those groups weren't ostracized like the Irish. Is it simply because the Irish were Catholic? The Italians are known to be very Catholic. So why weren't they kicked around? Is it because they drink beer? The Germans drink beer. So bring on June 5th and let's get drunk and wear green for the Christmas trees St. Boniface is said to have invented. Oh, and just so you know- St. Patrick's color is blue. Not green. So why celebrate a day that remembers a people the Americans historically beat the shit out of?

Also, I find it horribly offensive and rude that the heritage day of Ireland is commemorated by drunkenness. Alcoholism is a real problem in the economically depressed Ireland. But by all means, honor Ireland by pissing your pants from being too drunk.


On the other hand, to those who take their ancestry seriously, Happy Saint Patrick's Day. May you enjoy your corned beef and your Guinness. Sincerely.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

per se...it's Latin.

Tina said...

To the contrary, I believe St. Patrick's Day is just like a lot of the other holidays we celebrate, like Christmas: it's an amalgamation of different meanings cobbled together from different peoples and cultures over time. It means something different depending on who you ask. For the Irish, I'm sure you're right that it holds a certain cultural significance (and the green is a matter of national pride). Keep in mind that in the mid-19th century, the potato famine killed off nearly 1 million people and another million had to leave, a significant portion of the population for a small island nation. The fact that the Irish have filtered into the tiny nooks and crannies of so many other places is a credit to their resiliency. I imagine thankfulness for their survival also factors into the reasons for celebration today, at least for those who emigrated to the US. And, we celebrate for the same reasons we celebrate MLK, Jr. day and Black History Month and Womens' History Month: there's a certain amount of remorse for having treated folks badly in the past; you could say these holidays and observances are a penance. I do agree, however, that the public displays of drunkenness could be toned down a bit.