So, when do I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Submitted by Tom O’Schultz, Morning Host 97.1 The Wave

There has been some discussion around the workplace and even at home, when do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? It’s a question that has been bothering me quite a bit. I need to know, when do I have to wear the green? How much beer and Irish whiskey will I need to have? And do I take my festivitie out in public or just make it a private affair? I suppose the decision making is even harder this year than in past year’s. But it’s a situation I don’t plan to take likely.

Here’s the deal. The regular scheduled date for St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th. It is the same date every year. This Irish holiday is always celebrated on March 17th, which is the day that Saint Patrick died. Saint Patrick was a missionary in the 4th century who converted the Irish to Christianity. There is a story that, according to legend, the patron saint of Ireland rid the country of snakes by chasing the reptiles into the sea after they began attacking him during a 40-day fast he undertook on top of a hill. But that is besides the point.

St. Patrick’s Day has become more than just a religious holiday. The date has now advanced to the stage that anyone can enjoy the day. It’s a chance for people to place an O in front of their last name, maybe have a beer or two and possibly eat corned beef and cabbage. If you are of true Irish descent, it’s a day to boldly make claim to your heritage. If you are not Irish, it’s just a great day to pretend that you are.

The problem with the holiday is the day of the week that it falls upon. The most optimum day to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day would be a Saturday. Other days, like this year’s friday date, are also good. You can make a weekend of the event and most people do not have to worry about going to work the next day. I think everyone would agree, any day between Sunday and Wednesday are terrible days to have to holiday fall upon. An argument could be made that a thursday is okay, just because it’s so close to the weekend already. Some would even say it’s “friday eve”.

My main problem with the Irish holiday this year is there are now a number of opportunities to celebrate. One of the major events on Delmarva is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ocean City, MD. It is billed as “one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in Maryland. It is a celebration that draws locals and visitors alike and it’s an event that seemingly last all weekend long. Maybe that is why the beach town historically holds the parade the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, no matter when the date falls. Here’s a fun fact for you, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade did not take place in Ireland, but actually in New York City on March 17, 1762. Now, over 100 US cities have St. Patrick’s Day parades.

Of course the actual holiday falls on the following friday, which in turn, sets up the entire weekend for plethora of activities. Which kind of makes the most sense. So I get to wear green, drink green beer and say things like “Kiss me, I’m Irish, at least for these three days.” I suppose there is no real problem in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on all of these days. It just seems a bit overwhelming. Only Christmas and Halloween have more hype attached to them. Valentine’s Day, Easter and even Groundhog Day all basically have to settle for a one day affair.

So, I guess I will just have to accept the fact that I have celebrate “the green” over two weekends and a good part of a work week. It is not even that I’m opposed to such a celebration. I’m just not sure if my liver can take it.

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