By Pablo / Word on the Street / 17th March 2017
Everybody text your friends, all wear green, go to a pub and get completely shit faced!
But wait. What are we actually celebrating? Who the fuck is St Patrick and why do I even care?
These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before you panic when you can’t find anything green in your cupboard in preparation for spending some hard earned ZAR on a stupid amount of beer tonight.
Most won’t be arsed to find out the answer to these questions, because lets be honest – you don’t actually care and you don’t really need a valid reason to get drunk.
But if you are curious about what the global fuss over this St Patrick oke is or you’d just like to throw some fun facts in the face of fucked friends later, read on.
First fun fact – St Patrick wasn’t even Irish. WTF.
He was actually British, and his real name wasn’t even Patrick – it was Maewyn Succat. History tells us that Little Mae was actually kidnapped by a group of pirates when he was 16 years old and taken to Ireland were he worked as a shepherd for Irish invaders.
It was during his time in captivity where he became a devout Christian, and was encouraged by a voice he believed to be God’s to escape from his captors. When he eventually got back to his motherland, he trained to become a priest and was thereafter known as Patricius, his Christian name, which leads us to our second fun fact –
St Patrick’s day is first and foremost a religious holiday.
You’d think people would immediately make that connection with the word ‘Saint’ in the title, but I suppose beer can make one forget things.
Being the godly man that he was, Pat had a second otherworldly vision (this time from an angel) telling him to return to the country in which he’d been held captive and spread the word of the Bible. People celebrate St Patrick because they believe that he introduced Christianity to Ireland. Although he wasn’t the first to bring Christianity to the island, he did convert a significant amount of Irish natives from paganism to following the word of Jesus Christ.
This is slightly ironic, as Pat used symbols, characteristic of pagan practice and forbidden in Christianity, to sway the Irish into his corner. An example most relevant to St Patrick’s Day would be that he used the shamrock, or three-leafed clover, to explain the Holy Trinity. Most Irish practice a nature-based paganism, so this symbolism would have been easier for them to respect and accept.
Ironic, or pure genius.
The traditional colour for St Patrick is actually blue, not green.
He has his own shade named after him: St Patrick’s blue. However, people started picking clovers and wearing them as a sign of Irish Catholic Nationalism on St Patricks Day. Because of this and endless emerald landscapes, Green soon replaced the St Patrick sky-blue as the colour of the army and thus represented the nation. Better than the story of Santa turning red because of Coca-Cola.
Speaking of America : we all know how much they love a holiday and patriotism. 40 million Americans claim Irish heritage: hundreds and thousands of Irish immigrants flocked to the USA in the late 1700 and early 1800’s because of political uprising and the potato famine.
The very first St Patrick’s Day Parade took place in New York City where a group of Irish immigrants marched to a pub wearing green on the 17th of March to celebrate their homeland. Today there are hundreds of parades around the world – American’s have a knack for making us care about holidays which we usually wouldn’t – classic FOMO.
We’ve all heard theories that American holiday’s have veered from their essence and are actually just a fantastic excuse for corporations to make a shit load of money – I hate to say it but I think that this is the case here, why? The answer is in fun fact number four:
It’s not customary to drink beer on St Patrick’s Day.
Due to the fact that the 17th of March was a religious holiday in Ireland, pubs weren’t even allowed to be open. St Patricks Day was only declared a national holiday in 1970. An estimated $5.3 billion will be spent on St Patricks Day today – outfits, beer, food, taxi rides, etc. That’s a lot of money.
So what do leprechauns have to do with this?
Well, nothing really.
I boil it down to the fact that Irish culture is centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth and Americans love to dress up.
Yours in shamrock & shenanigans
The Halfway Crooks