Another year, another St Patrick’s Day! For many it’s a day of celebration, with festivities across the world poised to bring people together in their greenest attire for a day of drunken merriment.
But did you know you’ve been celebrating it wrongly all these years?
St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day of drunken debauchery
False! In recent years, St. Patrick’s Day has become a day of inglorious drunkenness, with parties across the globe organized to drink as much Guinness and colour-block as much green as possible. But, traditionally, the occasion was a far more spiritual affair (as any respectable religious feast day should be, right?) with things only getting rowdy in recent years both in Ireland and further afield. In fact, pubs used to annually close on March 17 to preserve the solemnity of the day.
Green is the colour of St. Patrick’s Day
False! Although these days we associate green with all things Irish, the traditional colour associated with St. Patrick’s Day was once actually blue. It was only with the growth of nationalist movements in Ireland that green became the colour of the day. And, by the way, the wearing of green is actually a very modern tradition. Back in the day, the Irish apparently decorated themselves with a very simple shamrock, which leads us to…
The symbol of St Patrick’s Day is the four leaf clover, right?
False! Although the lucky leaf is now associated with the Emerald Isle and the feast of St. Patrick, it’s actually the three-leafed shamrock that is the nation’s symbol. The shamrock is believed to have been used by St. Patrick as a way of explaining the holy trinity to non-believers.
The leprechaun is the mascot of St Patrick’s Day
False! The leprechaun has nothing to do with St. Patrick or the day that celebrates his awesomeness. In fact, the jury is still out as to whether the leprechaun even exists… In reality, it’s a mixture of the appropriation of Irish folklore and dark capitalist forces that have led to the appearance of those garish green top-hats that are used by many to dress-up on St Paddy’s day.
So it seems you’ve been celebrating St Patrick’s Day wrong all these years. No fear, instead of donning terrible borderline-offensive costumes and drinking as much Guinness asyour liver can handle, how about a casual get-together with friends over a beer or two?