I’ve never been sure what to think about St. Patrick’s Day.
As a child, it meant a lot of green-wrapped candy and shamrock-shaped cookies got passed around the classroom. There might have been mentions of leprechauns or the Potato Famine. The memory is hazy.
In high school, it became clear that if you didn’t wear green, you’d get pinched (or punched, depending on who you didn’t manage to avoid). I went to a very protestant prep school, so there’d be a little competition to see who wore green (catholic color) or orange (protestant color). I usually wore both. Because I could. And I don’t like being pinched.
I grew up, and suddenly it seems like there’s supposed to be an inordinate amount of liquor involved in the festivities. Seems foolhardy to me, but no one asked my opinion.
Still, I have no idea what St. Paddy’s Day is all about. Do leprechauns deliver presents? Do we go out and hunt for brightly-painted blarney stones? Does a fairy come by and slip a four-leafed clover under the pillows of sleeping children who lost their teeth?
According to Americans, you’re supposed to wear green and drink a lot. Not sure, but I think that’s a far cry from where the holiday started.
I still try to wear green and orange on March 17th. I’ll take any excuse to follow a color scheme. I saw a girl wearing green striped knee-socks, other green paraphernalia, and a massive green top hat. I went up to her and requested the highest of fives for her aesthetic bravery.
To the Irish: I apologize for the bizarre mess we’ve made of one of your national holidays. It is actually one of your holidays, isn’t it?
Anyway, go n-eírí an bóthar leat, celebrants everywhere.
And stay off the roads.