Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day is sort of...

...a befuddling holiday for many, expecially those who think it is no big deal because it is not celebrated in Ireland with the raucousness with which it is celebrated within the United States of America. In Ireland, St. Patricks day is a holy day for Catholics. It has never been much more, although nowadays that may be changing in that it is becomming a worldwisde reason to party. The true meaning of St. Patrick's day, as celebrated in the United States does not have, I think, as much to do with the mistaken idea that St. Patrick was iIish as it does with his having been an outsider who became accpeted through his Catholicism. He was not born in Ireland, but was likely born in Wales. He was not Catholic at the time of his youth, but he was a pagan. He was taken into slavery, and brought to Ireland as a slave, but later escaped. After that he traveled to France, of all places, studied Catholocism, and then returned to Ireland to teach the word of his God. Ireland was then converted to Catholicism over the next 150 to 200 years or so without a great deal of religious violence. Patrick must have started off the conversion correctly.

So why is it then, if he was not Irish, was not originally Catholic, that celebrating the supposed day of his death has become so important in the USA. Think of the Irish immigrant who came here out of what in essence was slavery in their home country under English rule. Think of how that mirrors St. Patrick in slavery. Think of how the USA mirrors the Ireland to which St. Patrick immigrated. Think of the Irish immigrant coming to the USA with nothig except the clothes on his back, and his religion - Catholicism. Think of how important that made St. Patrick to U.S. citizens of Irish descent in later years. Thus the celebration of St. Patrick's day having such a really important meaning for Americans of Irish descent. That is my theory anyhow.

Happy St. Paddy's day to all.......

All the best,