DO St. Patrick's Day RIGHT
Ah, St. Patrick’s Day—that much beloved holiday on the 17th of March, which gives us all free rein to look for leprechauns, drink beer, and become truly Irish—at least for one day.
What started out as a feast during the Christian holiday of Lent, the ban on meat would be lifted and the Irish would worship in church and then feast and dance to celebrate. St. Patrick, whose death is reported as happening on March 17th 461, is credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland, and as legend tells it, told them of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost on the leaves of their national clover: the shamrock. In fact, for over 1,000 years in Ireland the holiday was not associated with drinking at all, with laws at one point ordering pubs to shut down on the holiday.
The first Irish Parades actually started here in the United States and not in Ireland. After the potato famine hit the country, many Irish emigrated to America to escape starvation. They were not warmly received when they first arrived, and our media would even portray them in newspapers and cartoons in a very derogatory fashion, calling them “crazy drunk monkeys.” The Irish soon learned that, if they worked together, they could have more power in the community. They became key influencers in political elections and started organizing St. Patrick Day parades across the country. Political officials soon started frequenting these events to hopefully sway the Irish-American vote. The popularity of these parades grew, year after year, and eventually the Irish government started to take notice, and eventually changed the staunch traditions of the past to attract tourists to the homeland. Now all the pubs stay open, and Dublin, Ireland draws over one million people each year for their St. Patrick’s festival, which features concerts, parades, outdoor theater productions, and huge fireworks display.
As March 17th rolls around each year, it’s hard to not get caught up in the festivities and grab some Kelly green to wear for the occasion. We at STRIPLV offer a few tips to do just that, and enjoy the celebration even better this year.
• Skip the green beer – If grabbing a Guinness isn’t your thing, why not try a little Jameson Whiskey, Smithwick’s Ale, Baileys, or grab a nice pint of Bulmers Cider.
• Shelf the corned beef and cabbage this year (a U.S. tradition, sorry to tell you) and go for a traditional Irish Stew. Back in the day, in the early days of Ireland, if you could afford meat, then that told the tax collector that you had more money and therefore should give him more money. So they would put the meat on the bottom of the stew and cabbage on top, to cover up the smell of the meat (typically mutton or lamb) and cook it low and slow. The result is now comfort food, worth grabbing a bowl of once a year.
• Don’t be that guy – We all know that a good tribute to the Irish usually is coupled with ingesting too much alcohol, just not too too much. Hey, we all want to laugh at you when you belt out your rendition of “Danny Boy” on top of the bar, but you’re not going to want to see it when your buddy plays it back for you the next day on his smart phone.
• Do a parade, hit up a Pub, and before one of your drinks, offer up at least one Irish blessing to your friends such as:
“May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.”