I’ve never been a big fan of St. Patrick’s Day, even though I’m one quarter Irish. Although I may have cooked an occasional corned beef and cabbage on this day, I’ve always resisted wearing green; never marched in or even watched a St. Patrick’s Day parade; never drank pint after pint at a pub (well not on this day anyway).
How did the patron saint of Ireland, the only Catholic saint whose day has become a secular festival (the Church having replaced St. Valentine on his day by St. Cyril), become so popular?
Good marketing by the Irish, maybe, who used their early parades to protest discrimination. An interesting replacement, too, for the Liberalia, the day the ancient Romans toasted Bacchus.
In the mid-nineteenth century, after the potato famine in Ireland, the Irish immigrant population grew from two to twenty percent in just a decade. Soon, if this melting pot idea holds water, we’ll celebrate December 12th as well.