By Gus Bode

Partying with St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday of Irish origin, has found a home in the hearts of Americans, who love their frosted mugs full of green beer and plates full of savory corn beef and cabbage.

Everyone knows where St. Patrick goes, a good time is sure to follow. However, as quick as we are to celebrate with this prince of the party, many of us know nothing about him and even less about how this holiday was heralded in. It would be easy to assume that he was some fire-headed, freckle-faced Irishman with a predisposition for alcoholism and an insatiable lust for potatoes, but this is far from the truth.


The fact is St. Patrick was actually born to a wealthy British family — the mortal enemy of the impoverished Irish people. It was only until later in life that he decided to devote himself to the Roman Catholic Church and help the downtrodden Irish.

He brought with him the Christian gospel and preached of hope and perseverance during trying times. In doing so, he became a man of the people and a cherished figure in religion and spirituality. Through patience and example he inspired acts of charity to further the commonwealth of the people. It was not until he died in 461 that he was given his own religious holiday of penance and tribute.

In fact, the iconic shamrock associated with St. Paddy was used to illustrate the holy trinity and is also why the color green is the trademark color of the festival. On March 17, the whole of Ireland would go to church in the morning, where lent, a tradition of abstaining from meat for 40 days, would be lifted. Then they would celebrate with the hallmark meal of succulent corned beef and crunchy cabbage.

So how does a stringent, Catholic-derived day of God turn into a no-holds-barred bash of booze, babes and rock bands?

I’ll give you one clue: Americanization. Because in the land of the free, sinners are winners.

This time though, I actually agree with America. Life should be a celebration. Why spend the short time you have on this world chanting meaningless text from dusty old tomes written by men with too much time on their hands just so you can spend the rest of your life trying to avoid some ambiguous idea of what someone else thought was wrong?

Cast off these shackles of restraint and trust your own moral compass. Because if there is a God, he wouldn’t want you wasting his most precious gift sitting in a pew drifting off to sleep.


He would want you parading through the streets, watching the confetti rain down in shimmering cascades, hearing the roar of the rum-fueled crowds over the whaling trumpets and trombones, letting the cool, soft scent of approaching spring curl into your nostrils until all these sensations meld into a single entity, and status and authority blur, so that for this one fleeting moment, we all are equal. This is the true spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. So start brewing your green beer and hunting for four leaf clovers. Because on March 17, you might just get lucky.