Ah, St Paddy’s Day. For many Americans it means green beer, parades, and a pinch if you forget to throw on your green t-shirt and accessories. Really, it’s a day to commemorate Saint Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to the Emerald Isle.
Today, I read that the people of Ireland hate when foreigners call it St. Patty’s Day or Patty’s Day. I love my Irish heritage, but I had no idea this was an issue. Patty is a shortened version of the name, Patricia. And Saint Patrick was a man. So it’s an ignorant, cultural mistake. Apparently Paddy is just fine as a shortened version of Patrick. So that said, happy St. Paddy’s Day!
For some people this is not an important holiday. But for me and my college roommate, it was our favorite time of the year. We loved the green celebration and the 24 hour time frame when everybody is allowed to be Irish. We always had to make a big deal of it. Sometimes that involved beer or liquor (more often than not) and other times cheesy green beads and silly decorations (along with beer and liquor).
In hindsight, it is amazing how a religious holiday has turned into such a drinking festival with green everything and leprechauns hopping about. People always love an excuse to celebrate. And that’s not a bad thing.
One year, I was visiting my parents on St. Paddy’s Day. My parents didn’t seem to drink until I became an adult. I don’t know how they hid it from us when we were kids. In true Irish-style, I brought a bottle of Jameson. I told them we were going to take a shot of whiskey to celebrate. And to my surprise, they didn’t protest. With much pride and a bit of laughter, I watched my mom take a shot of liquor, followed with puckered lips and wide eyes. We had to coach her on how to do it, but she did well. It didn’t become a tradition, but I look back on it fondly each year.
This year, I plan to have a bit of Baileys Irish Cream since that’s the only true Irish drink we have in the house. It sounds boring and perhaps that makes me an old lady. But hey, I’m wearing my green as usual. Though the celebration is toned down this year, I think I have some more youthful St. Paddy’s celebrations left in me. Next year, everyone better be ready. It might just get a little crazy in here.