St. Patrick’s Day: the largest celebration of cultural appropriation in the United States and possibly the world. So why hasn’t it been canceled yet? Is it because the Irish aren’t black — even the black Irish? Or perhaps it’s because progressives believe they are celebrating the Green New Deal. Either way, it’s a surprise that the left hasn’t scrubbed this holiday from the calendar, because everybody likes to have fun on St. Patrick’s Day: get together with family and friends, have some drinks (the word “some” is used loosely, here), and have a good time. These are all things that humorless progressives just can’t stand because they know that miserable, isolated people are so much easier to control.
St. Patrick’s Day will endure, though, probably because of the strange relationship between Ireland and the United States. More than anywhere in the world, America is home to so many people who love to describe themselves as Irish – even the ones who would have to trace their ancestry back many generations to discover that their great-great-great-great-grandmother’s next-door neighbor’s dog was born in Dublin. On St. Patrick’s Day, then, are we really all Irish or are most of us just Elizabeth Warren?
Patrick, the Unlikely Irish Saint
It goes without saying, of course, that St. Patrick’s Day is originally a Catholic religious festival that commemorates Ireland’s patron saint and national apostle. In Ireland, it was once much more of a religious day than anything else, until politicians realized they could commercialize it and use it to promote the country, which, other than being the birthplace of a handful of truly great authors, was famous only for potato famines, widespread inebriation, and terrorism.
Ironically, St. Patrick himself was not Irish. He was born in Britain in the fourth century A.D. At that time, Ireland was not part of Britain. According to historical accounts, Patrick was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish raiders and taken to County Mayo, where he was held captive for six years. He eventually escaped, and it is said that God then spoke to him, telling him he should leave Ireland, which would seem like sound advice, considering that he just spent six years in captivity.
On returning to Britain, though, Patrick found out that God had changed his mind and wanted him to go back to Ireland – and, yes, this does all sound like the very first Irish joke. Patrick studied to become a priest and returned to Ireland to preach Christianity to the pagans. It is said that there is no evidence Patrick came from a particularly religious family, and he never was officially canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint. In his day, there was no formal canonization of saints.
And so, with the greatest respect to those readers who are proud of the Irish ancestry they know or believe they have, the entire holiday is something of a sham: a man who was not Irish and not a saint is now celebrated, mostly in ways the Catholic Church of Patrick’s day would have sternly disapproved. Still, like Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day has become a damned good excuse for a party – and that in itself makes the holiday worth preserving.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.