St. Paddy’s Day

Methinks St. Paddy’s Day celebrations, especially on college campuses in the U.S., have gotten out of hand.

At the University of Illinois, for example, “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” was held this past weekend. Buses and trains brought in party-goers from across the state and even from out of state. Besides consuming more alcohol than was reasonably prudent, these revelers tossed objects from balconies, received more than 300 notices to appear in court for drug possession and public urination (among others),  and left behind enough litter to fill a football stadium.

More than 20 were taken to local hospitals on alcohol-related issues. In previous years, some have been injured or even lost their life, again mostly alcohol-related.

Now I love a good party as much as the next Irishman, but really, is all this craziness necessary? When a person can’t remember how he got where he is, who he was with, or what he did, why does he think he had a good time??

Traditionally, March 17 was set aside to honor St. Patrick, who used a three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to pagan Irish people and convert them to Christianity.

What once was a mostly Catholic saint’s day, with observers attending church and dining simply on corned beef and cabbage, has become an excuse for drunken celebrations across the land.

That makes me a wee bit sad, for as a culture, the Irish have been known for too long as drinkers. There are Irish drinking jokes, Irish toasts, even Irish quips on T-shirts.

I suspect there’s one reason behind all this — money.

Bars and restaurants are happy to trade food and drink to party-goers for green cash. Communities, strapped in tough economic times, are glad to take tourists’ money in exchange for hosting a colorful parade or dying some river or fountain Kelly green.

But not all Irish are drunks;  some Irish never even touch alcohol.


And I hate to see what should be a joyous occasion marked by people throwing up in the streets and winding up unconscious (or worse) in some hospital.

Especially when those people are our young.

Perhaps we need to imitate the Irish in the motherland, who celebrate the festive occasion with music, sports competitions, fireworks, films, and other family-friendly events.

And remember, “There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were!”

14 thoughts on “St. Paddy’s Day

  1. Its the same thing with New Years Eve. You get all of these people who use any excuse they can find to behave like a fool. The sad part is that some never get a second chance.

    • Oh, Duke, you are so right, sad to say! And Mardi Gras is fast becoming just as bad. I never could see the wisdom in getting so totally out of control that you lose whole track of time — too much like anesthesia!

  2. Amen to both comments. Too many lives are ruined because drinking alcohol is glamorized and promoted whether it be New Years’s Eve or St Paddy’s Day. It saddens me as well to think that alcohol seems to play such a key role in our celebrations.

    • You’re right, Kathy! Drinking in moderation is fine, I guess, but far too many never seem to know what “moderation” means. Kids in the “Old Country” grew up with alcohol; I wonder if there’s a study that shows they don’t abuse it when they come of age?

  3. That’s a really interesting question ,Deb,about the “old country”. Maybe alcohol was considered to be a food rather than a rite of passage into adulthood? I just think there is too much glitz attached to drinking in our country and that makes the kids want to be a part of it all. The media doesn’t help.Look how they’ve given Charlie Sheen a stage. He’s decompensating right before our eyes and it is presented as news and entertainment. He needs help, not media attention.

    • I’m right there with you on Charlie, Kathy. You’ve hit the nail on the head. This poor man should be pitied (and treated), rather than pandered to and coddled!

  4. Well said for the Irish people, Debbie! I must say, I do find it funny that so many people – with no Irish links or any other reason to celebrate it – celebrate St Patrick’s Day all around the world.
    I love your closing comment – it’s brilliant! I’m sure my husband would say the same of the Scottish!
    Sunshine xx

  5. “I suspect there’s one reason behind all this — money.”
    No doubt!
    But I always enjoy your posts. You have so much cultural and historical information in that brain of yours, Deb.

    • Aw, Lynne, you’re making me blush! I can probably thank all those years in the newspaper biz for giving me a bunch of often useless information — that, and the fact that I spend so much time at my computer that I’ve become fairly adept at sleuthing!

  6. Great post! I agree that money is a big driver, but it seems that many people just look for an excuse to get hammered. I’ve gotten to the point that I just stay in on any day that could possibly be a holiday just to avoid the stupidity!

    p.s. the Irish comment at the end cracked me up 🙂

    • I can empathize with your desire to stay in and avoid the madness; however, being half-Irish, I want to be where the celebrating is — I just don’t want to join in the drinking part! Go figure — a sober Irishman!

  7. Chicago dyes the river green and would dye Lake Michigan green if they could. We have multiple parade–Downtown, Southside, Northwest side and green beer is abundant. I
    I believe everyone is a little bit Irish on St. Pats Day. Drinking is an important way to celebrate—getting drunk–not so much so. IF you can be silly and outrageous and exaggerate with the best of them with out having a pint….I will toast you twice—Sláinte! (I don’t drink but on St. Pat’s day I kind of wish I did 🙂 )

    There once was an old man of Lyme
    Who married three wives at a time.
    When asked, “Why a third?”
    He replied, “One’s absurd!
    And bigamy, sir, is a crime.


    • Katybeth, I love your limerick!! And I can’t wait to see the Chicago River dyed green — I’ve never seen it except on TV, and it’s on my “bucket list”! I agree that our culture tends to celebrate anything with a drink — no problem with that. My beef is with those who get falling-down, sloppy drunk and use “celebration” as their excuse. Thanks for visiting!

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