Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day


Happy St. Patrick's Day. Tis a wonderful day to be Irish.  Or, should I say, Tis a wonderful day to stay home. Alcohol has become such an integral part of St. Patty's Day that it's not uncommon to hear revellers planning on how drunk they will get.  It's always such a rowdy night here in the city,  not that anything bad has ever happened to me; I just prefer to be safe in my home and away from all the madness. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not a prude.  Heck, there was a time when I'd be out there partying with the best of them, and I have also had more than my share of March 18th hangovers.  But then I grew older and wiser and realized that alcohol, just as nicotine, was never my friend.  Hence, it has been twenty years since I had a St. Patty's Day drink.

More mystically, perhaps March 17 really is the day of the Gods of Drinking, and any holiday on that day will thrive as a celebration of drink.  Long before St. Patrick, this was the date of the Bacchanalia, and of the related festival The LiberaliaBacchanalia was the festival of the Greek god Bacchus, the god of wine.  During the festivals there was a tumultuous procession of men and women, drinking, some riding in a cart and casting scurrilous jests and abusive language at the bystanders, and some carrying the phallus, the emblem of the generative power in nature.  Liberalia was tamer than Bacchanalia but still both days were celebrations with drinking befitting the Gods in question.  (Sound familiar?)

In ancient times, when one civilization conquered another, they would also appropriate their religion by incorporating the other cultures gods into their parthenon. And, along with appropriating these gods, the dominant culture would also incorporate the traditional festivals celebrating that god. With monotheist religions such as Christianity, the god celebrated in these festivities was to be replaced by a patron saint. St Patrick was a Romano-Briton. Was there some connection between him and Liberalia? After all, many of the Pagan holidays have been Christianized. 
If you have plans to party on St. Patrick’s Day, have fun and make sure you include a plan for a safe and sober ride home using a designated driver or taxi.

St. Patrick, the holy and tutular man
His beard down his bosom like Aaron's ran:
Some from Scotland, some from Wales, will declare that he came,
But I care not from whence now he's risen to fame;
The pride of the world and his enemies scorning
I will drink to St. Patrick, today in the Morning!

He's a desperate big, little Erin go brah;
He will pardon our follies and promise us joy,
By the mass, by the Pope, by St. Patrick so long
As I live, I will give him a beautiful song!
No saint is so good, Ireland's country adorning:
Then hail to St. Patrick, today, in the morning!

(Traditional Song)

5 comments:

  1. "May you have warm words on a cold evening,
    a full moon on a dark night,
    and the road downhill all the way to your door."

    Happy St. Patrick's Day.

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  2. Shamrock blessings to you today, Mary!

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  3. Happy St Paddy's day to you Mary.....you know....after reading this post....it does occur to me why...we as mankind....often can't seem to have a good time without alcohol being involved. Just me think out
    loud.

    Jo

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  4. ....and the Luck of the Irish to you Mary.
    :0) Happy Pat's Day

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  5. Happy St. Paddy's Day to you too!

    ReplyDelete