Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Being 18 is an awkward age when it comes to St. Paddy's day, at least in the United States. Now that I think about it, it's awkward celebrating it at all for me because I'm not Christian OR Irish. o;

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
Nevertheless, I remember when I was in elementary school I would get so excited for St. Patrick's Day because I knew there would be a small little man running around our school, leaving green foot prints on our desks, and our day would be spent looking for this little man, also known as a leprechaun.

When we found him, our teacher would catch him in a brown paper bag and our hearts would be beating a million times per minute because we wanted our gold chocolate coins! After wrestling with the bag for a bit, the teacher would look at us with a sad look on her face as she showed us the gaping hole the leprechaun had left in the bag as he escaped. The good news though, we still got our chocolate coins! (-: OH and I remember that I HAD to wear green on St. Paddy's day, or else I would get pinched. But since we had uniforms, I would just draw a four-leaf clover on my hand. (;

St. Patrick's Day: An excuse to get drunk. (;
So, when you're younger you actually use your imagination and make it a great, big fun holiday. Then, when you reach a legal drinking age (21 in the U.S.), St. Patrick's Day becomes an excuse to get drunk off your ass and party all night.

I'm kind of in the middle of the two extremes and I wasn't really sure how to celebrate, even though, again, I am neither Christian nor Irish. So, being the nerd that I am, I decided to find out how people, who this holiday actually pertains to, celebrate. (DISCLAIMER: All my info is coming from Wikipedia, so PLEASE correct me if I get anything wrong. Thanks!)

Although today people celebrate St. Patrick's Day for various reasons, I was interested in how March 17 became an international holiday. According to Wikipedia, St. Patrick's Day was an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century to celebrate the most commonly recognized patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. It was also seen as a celebration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and of the Irish culture in general.

A depiction of Saint Patrick.
The funny thing, Saint Patrick wasn't even Irish OR Christian! According to National Geographic, Saint Patrick was kidnapped and sent to Ireland to tend sheep as a slave for seven years. Although he had no interest in Christianity, he soon got religious and became a devoted Christian.

St. Patrick's Day became an official public holiday in Ireland in 1903 when an Irish member of Parliament, James O'Mara, introduced the Bank Holiday Act. The government of Ireland saw this as an opportunity to showcase Ireland and its culture, and held the first ever St. Patrick's Day festival on March 17, 1996. Their aims included: offering a national festival that would rank amongst the greatest celebrations in the world, creating energy and excitement throughout Ireland, and projecting an accurate image of Ireland as "a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal."

By 1997 it became a three-day event, by 2000 it was a four-day event, and by 2006 it became a five-day event. Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated all around the world and in a wide variety of ways!

So now you know how I used to celebrate St. Paddy's day, and how people used to celebrate it way back when. But how do YOU celebrate it? Let me know in the comments below!

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