NELSON: Which St. Patrick being celebrated?
You love St. Patrick’s Day? Faith ‘n begorrah, Andy, I dinna even know you were Irish.
But before you hit me with your shillelagh, Mr. O’Radia, why is St. Patrick’s Day an international celebration?
Other than a thematic excuse for a boozeup, why do Swedes like me and brown guys like you dress foolishly, speak like leprechauns, drink Guinness, green beer, Bushmill’s Whiskey or anything Irish- ish on March 17th?
Well, to honour St. Patrick of course — you know, the patron Saint of Ireland who well, did something significant.
Didn’t he drive the snakes out of Ireland? Well no, Ireland never had any snakes — at least not since the Midlandian Ice Age — thus no Irish asps ever required “driving out.”
Well, what about the potato famine? Didn’t St. Patrick have something to do with helping with that? Uh, no, actually, the potato famine was 1,400 years after St. Patrick’s death.
And which St. Patrick? The Irish have identified two possible St. Patricks: “Old Patrick,” who possibly died in 457 AD and Patrick the Archpostle who may have died in 492 AD.
The only historical unanimity about St. Patrick’s contribution is that at least one St. Patrick may have used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan masse.
But other than possibly using the Shamrock for an evangelistic visual aid, St. Patrick’s achievements are fuzzier than a March 18 hangover. His legacy was largely posthumously sculpted as a focus for national pride.
So, although the Irish observance of St. Patrick’s Day involves a solemnity and national pride that would be insensitive to criticize, there’ll be no mistakin’ that a wee bit of blarney surrounds the day’s namesake.
Regardless, never one to let down the side, on Sunday I’ll be wearing a giant green necktie, having a pint of Guinness and speaking like Darby O‘Gill about people “stealin’ me lucky charms.”
So Mr. O’Radia, as we join Sunday’s international kelly green debauch, I hope that in the real spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, after too much Guinness and several heavily accented choruses of “Danny Boy,” neither my uncle Sven nor your uncle Kalpesh ends up face down in his bubble and squeak.