Thursday, March 15, 2007

St. Patrick's Day?

It seems that each year this day becomes a bigger and bigger world event, a major celebration of the year that is gaining equal, and often bigger, stature than Christmas and Halloween. Its quite remarkable and quite an honour to be connected to a country of just over 5 million people, though it seems like 50 million worldwide who claim first generation connection and 500 million worldwide who claim second or third generation connection.

It is a day that confuses me, though.

Pubs, sports and drinking rules.
Its the one day that nobody can get enough of "traditional" Irish music and song,
that most would switch off if they heard it during the rest of the year,
but even try to sing it on this day.

Professional Irish singers and musicians love this day
because they can charge 3 to 4 times their normal fee for a performance
due to the laws of supply and demand.
There's not enough performers around for this day
.... but these performers struggle to find work on the other 364 days
so their high fees for today are well deserved.

Is this truly a day that honours St. Patrick
or a day to say "feck off" to all he stood for,
especially as St, Patrick was an Englishman?

I often talk of Mummer's Plays and its most common presentation is of the crusades with St. George being the hero and a saracen being the villain. Certainly not politically correct today with Mummer's Play drama groups now having to be cautious of not being targets of extreme Moslems. However, in Northern Ireland, especially Co. Fermanagh, in the Mummer's Plays St. Patrick is the hero and St. George is the villain, an Irish vs England portrayal.

Again I wonder what St. Patrick would think of that.
What makes it more interesting is that St. Patrick was born in England and St. George born in France,
so that creates another twist on the tale when you consider the historical ongoing "war" between the English and French but in company people of both nations do get on very well with each other and actually like each other.

Ask anyone what St, Patrick Day is to them today and answers seem to be

a day to be "Irish" for a day, (but its not of the Irish today)
a day of letting the inner rebel lose,
a day of "beating the crap" out of something
rarely in violence, these days, but with shouting out rebel songs and cheering on sports teams,
a day of telling stories (all lies!)
a day of wheeling and dealing, something that probably doesn't even belong to you
and a day where all this is driven on by the fervour influence of alcoholic beverages
and then forgotten the next day, which is just another day
though on this next day it will be Sunday Mass day
and possibly an incredible day to get into the "Porta-Confession-Box" business
and subscribe to "Priest In A Day" courses on the internet due to expected demand.

I'm not sure where the wearing of Leprechaun hats and wearing Leprechaun logos comes into this.
It is said that the Leprechauns were a short race, the Formorians, who put up quite a fight when the De Dannan arrived some time between 1400 and 1500 BC, yet the De Dannan brough metal working to Ireland, and the tap, tap, tapping of Leprechauns and the alchemy of refining and making gold for the pots was also very De Dannan, so again I am confused.

One of the wonderful things of St. Patrick's Day, though, are the parades.
These are wonderful exploding expressions of ideas and creativitiy that may be restricted elsewhere, and then put on show for all to see. Within each parade mix in Ireland is also the military display of local volunteer regiments to remind and stir honour for Ireland within the frivolity of all other things of this day.

Its also a wonderful reminder that the Irish army is not a military army but a peacekeeping army.
Now I think St. Patrick's spirit would accept that,
but I still cannot figure out which part of the "Trinity" drinking green beer is in honour to.


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