St Patrick’s Day

Kirsty Proffitt goes green for the Drop.

St Paddy's

So the countdown begins… 1day until it’s time to celebrate!

Saint Patrick’s Day commemorates the patron saint of Ireland. Back in the early seventeenth century, the 17th March was made an official feast day and it is now widely recognised as a celebration of Irish culture in general. Today, perhaps the focus is more on drinking copious amounts and dressing up in weird and wonderful costumes. It’s just not the same unless you’re sporting something green or wearing something with the words ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’ printed on it.

Now I am pretty unknowledgeable when it comes to the traditions of the day, and having no Irish roots I probably shouldn’t be taking the day off work to celebrate. Nevertheless my flat mate is insisting we go all out, starting in the Impy at lunch then heading onto the Lemmy if we haven’t crashed by then. As she put it – ‘I’m proud to be Irish and despite the stereotype the best way to celebrate is with a drink’.

Another Irish friend announced that he would be starting from 11 following the statement on many St Paddy’s Day t-shirts that claims ‘you can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning’. He seems to have taken this as a literal challenge and competition – laughing at my plans and potential lack of abilities due to my non-inheritance of the Irish skill…

So why has this holiday become so renowned for drinking? Or is this just our student perspectives and appreciation of the day? Whilst American and English people in general associate the day with binge drinking, it is in fact a religious occasion. In Irish law until the 1970s, pubs had to be closed on the 17th March and drinking on St Paddy’s only recently became popular due to the day’s use as a tourist attraction and showcase of Irish culture. That’s when Dublin’s annual St Patrick’s Day festival became such a success. Perhaps then the drinking cliché is more of a recent development.

However another story associates the consumption of alcohol with an old Irish legend.  The story goes that St Paddy was served a measure of whiskey which was considerably less than full. He then took it upon himself to teach the innkeeper a lesson. He told the man that there was a devil in his cellar and the only way to get rid of it was to change his ways and become generous.

When St Paddy returned sometime later, the innkeeper was filling the glasses to overflowing. He returned to the cellar and said the devil had disappeared and therefore proclaimed that everyone should have a drop of the ‘hard stuff’ on this day to celebrate.  However accurate this story may be, it certainly explains a certain degree of the merriment.

But what about the other things we associate with the day – such as the image of a Leprechaun?  In Irish folklore the Leprechauns were known as little tricksters who you ‘wouldn’t want to mess with’.  As the legend goes, they apparently pinched and sometimes stole from people who they could see. Yet they can’t see people who wear green. Hence green has become the colour of choice for St Paddy’s day.  People traditionally go around pinching those not in green to warn them – referring to the quote 'Pinch me, I’m Irish’.

And finally why is the phrase ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’ so popular? This relates to another myth whereby if you kiss ‘The Blarney Stone’ it brings good luck. However if you can’t get to Ireland to kiss the stone, the next best option is to kiss an Irishman (or woman). So be prepared!

The celebrations started yesterday night, where Rococos held a F*** ME I'M FRESH – ST PATRICK'S PARTY SPONSORED BY I ♥ TOUR at which they encouraged people to ‘Go Green’! Also, tomorrow night the Guild will be ‘Celebrating all things Irish!’ encouraging people to head to the Lemmy. So whether you’re Irish or not don’t miss out on the fun. Happy St Patrick’s Day!